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Finger Sprain

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Finger Sprain


A finger sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the finger. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold bones to each other.

Finger Sprain.

Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73747374si55551491.jpgsi55551491.jpgNULLjpgsi55551491.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551491.jpgNULL13NULL2008-11-07254390Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


A finger sprain is when a force pushes the bones of the finger apart. If the force is strong enough, the ligament comes apart. This can happen from things like:

  • A blow to the finger
  • An impact with an object or another person
  • Falling on the hand

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Playing sports, such as basketball or volleyball
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loose joints


Problems may be:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling, warmth, or bruising around the finger
  • Problems moving the finger


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how you injured your finger. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your finger.

It can be hard to tell a sprain from a fracture or dislocation. Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:


Treatment will depend on the joint and how severe the injury is. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:

  • Supportive care, such as rest, ice, a compression bandage, and raising the finger to ease pain and swelling
  • Medicine, such as over the counter pain relievers
  • Taping and splinting the finger to keep it in place as it heals

Surgery may be needed to repair a finger sprain if:

  • A small piece of bone has been broken off
  • A ligament is very torn


Most sprains are due to accidents. They cannot always be prevented. The risk may be lowered by:

  • Using the right safety gear and techniques when playing sports
  • Stretching and strengthening the ligaments that support the finger




  • Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
  • Sprains, strains and other soft-tissue injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.orthoinfo.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Accessed October 14, 2020.
  • Topical NSAIDs. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/topical-nsaids. Accessed October 12, 2020.


  • Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.