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Physica e-Newsletter
November 2013

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 Finger Injuries


Finger injuries are common amongst the sporting community and their severity is just as commonly underestimated. Whilst the large majority of finger injuries are minor and apart from rest and ice require no further management, there are some that are considered serious, even to the point where surgical intervention may be required if not managed quickly.


After an acute injury there are a number of structures within your finger that require examination to assess the degree and type of injury sustained. And in some cases early immobilization is your best chance of making a full recovery and regaining full function of your finger.


Mild collateral ligament sprains are the most common finger injury and heal quickly with little to no intervention.   However injuries of a similar nature and force can cause enough damage to the collateral ligaments where a partial tear may have occurred and splinting or surgery is required to allow adequate healing.


Mallet finger is one of the most common tendon injuries and is where the end of the finger is unable to straighten fully. This is commonly seen when a ball strikes the end of the finger. Mallet finger occurs when the tendon attaching to the tip of the finger has been completely torn and requires imaging to confirm and splinting for a period of 8 weeks with regular monitoring to allow adequate healing.


In the case of a fracture to one of the metacarpals or phalanges once they have been imaged to confirm the diagnosis most require a period of immobilization. The position, length of time and area to be immobilized is dependent on the type of fracture and where it has occurred. In some cases fractures of the hand and finger may not present with large amounts of swelling or pain which is why proper assessment is important after an acute finger injury.


There are also types of fractures that require surgical intervention regardless of whether they are detected early or not. In the case of impact down the line of the thumb i.e. jarring your thumb, a Bennett's fracture (fracture dislocation of the first metacarpal) may have been sustained which requires management from a hand surgeon. Dislocation is not always obvious within the smaller joints particularly in areas where swelling has occurred, a swollen or misshapen finger is one that needs to be assessed as soon as possible.


The importance of early assessment and management of acute finger injuries cannot be stressed enough. A physiotherapist's role in the assessment phase is to examine the type and extent of the injury and whether or not it requires imaging to confirm a diagnosis. A physiotherapist can then provide a patient with a splint or brace to encourage healing of the damaged tissue. Finally in the process of regaining function of the injured finger a physiotherapist can provide you with exercises to help improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles involved.









The team at Physica wish you and your family good health. If there is anything we can do to help you with your aches and pains, fitness or general health please do not hesitate to contact us.

Physica Spinal and Physiotherapy Clinics
25 Wantirna Rd
Ringwood Vic 3134
ph 9870 8193

also at
Physica Devonport
Physica Shearwater
Physica Latrobe