DefinitionA finger sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments that support the small joints of the finger. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.
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CausesA finger sprain usually results from a blow to the finger causing the finger to bend too much or in the wrong direction. This often occurs during athletic activity when an athlete jams a finger into another person, the ball, or piece of equipment. Finger sprains may also occur in other situations, such as falling on the hand..
Risk FactorsA risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting an injury. Risk factors for a finger sprain may include:
- Playing sports, especially those involving the hands, such as basketball or volleyball
- Poor coordination or balance
- Weak ligaments
- Pain and tenderness in the finger
- Pain when moving the finger joint
- Swelling of the finger joint
DiagnosisThe doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your finger. The doctor will examine your finger to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.Tests may include:
- X-rays —to make sure that no bones are broken
- MRI scan —used in some situations to see if a ligament has torn completely (rarely needed)
- Stretching and microtearing of ligament tissue
- Stable joint
- Partial tearing of ligament tissue
- Mild instability of the joint
- Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue
- Significant instability of the joint
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