Jammed vs. Broken Finger: How Can I Tell?

A jammed finger is an incredibly common injury, especially if you play sports. While jammed fingers may be common, they are also extremely painful and require medical attention. Below, you can learn how to tell if you have a jammed finger or if the injury might be more severe.

Anatomy of the Finger

Your finger is made up of three different joints. These different joints are supported by ligaments, called collateral ligaments. When you jam your finger, it’s usually because one of these ligaments has been sprained or injured. If the bone fractures, you have a broken finger.

Jammed Finger Signs and Symptoms

A jammed finger or broken joint will cause pain, swelling, and immobility of the finger. Swelling may occur and last for a few weeks. The swelling should go down after a few weeks, but depending on the severity of the injury, the swelling may persist. You may even notice decreased pain and increased mobility even though your finger is still swollen.

How to Alleviate Pain from a Jammed Finger

Always see a medical professional if you believe you have a serious injury. In the meantime, these at-home methods can help alleviate pain associated with a jammed finger.

Take Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can reduce swelling and help the pain, even for a broken or jammed finger. Read the instructions on the bottle closely and follow the dosage recommendations there.

Test your finger’s mobility. If you try to move or bend your finger and feel a sharp pain and experience a lack of motion, you may have a broken finger. If this is the case, see a doctor right away.

Rest the injured finger. One of the most important things is to rest your finger. If you have an injured, jammed or broken finger, you may harm or increase the severity of the injury by moving it. Rest is one of the keys to success.

Ice the jammed finger. Wrap ice in a paper towel or cloth and place it on your injured finger. This will help reduce the swelling. If possible, ice for 20 minutes every hour.

Tape your fingers. Tape your injured finger to the finger beside it. This will immobilize your jammed finger and serve as a splint. Taping your fingers together will help secure the healing process by lessening injuries to your jammed finger.

When Should You See a Doctor for a Jammed Finger?

Jammed fingers are very common but unfortunately often overlooked. While resting and icing your jammed finger can help reduce the pain and swelling, if your symptoms persist, do not hesitate to call a doctor.

At Alexander Orthopaedic Associates, we are passionate about helping our patients heal. If you or a loved one is in need of medical attention, do not hesitate to call us. We are ready and able to assist you with any of your needs.