ZocdocAnswersHow can I heal a sprained finger?

Question

How can I heal a sprained finger?

Hey. I'm a 40-year-old male, play baseball on my company's team, and I think I sprained my finger at our game last week. It throbbed a bit at first, but by the end of the day it had swollen a lot and turned dark. What can I do to reduce swelling and get me back to normal? I'm really having problems typing and would like to get back to work ASAP.

Answer

Fingers are composed of many bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Injury to these structures can be difficult to deal with because they affect the function of the whole hand and inhibit activities such as typing. It sounds like you may have jammed your finger into a hard surface or possibly bent it in a strange way. While it is tempting to write this off as a sprain, I would be worried that there is damage to structures that requires more specialized attention. For example, sometimes when fingers get bent very quickly in any direction, the tendons which are attached to the bones can pull a chunk of bone off. This type of fracture requires a special brace to be worn for several weeks. If you were my patient, I would want you to get the proper imaging to make sure that your finger is going to do okay. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a hand specialist (a type of orthopedic surgeon). He or she can examine your finger and order the appropriate x-rays to look for any damage to your bones. The doctor can recommend a brace and even provide you with medications for pain if needed. In the mean time, you can ice it intermittently to help keep down thee swelling.

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