What is a Jarred Finger?

Aug 20, 2018

“Jarred” fingers in Colac Sportspeople

Most People who have played ball sports in Colac have experienced a Jarred Finger before. Sometimes you can just shake it off and continue playing, though often the injury is more severe than initially realised.


What is a Jarred Finger?

It can be a sprained ligament, a dislocated joint or a fracture, generally to the PIP joint (middle joint in your finger). This joint is often injured in Colac netballers, basketballers, footballers and cricketers.

The PIP joint has a thick ligament across the front that stops the finger from bending backwards but still allows it to bend into a fist. It also has a ligament on either side to stop too much sideways movement.

It is prone to dislocation if a high force is applied to the end of the finger (e.g. a ball hitting the top of your finger), and also to becoming very stiff if not treated properly. The finger can even get stuck in a bent position – not ideal for catching a ball!!

The more distal joint near your finger tip can also be injured when hit by a ball.  This joint is more likely to have a tendon injury to the extensor tendon or an avulsion fracture which is where the tendon pulls some bone away from the little bone in your finger tip called the phalange.  This is called a Mallet Finger.

Unfortunately, these injuries are often dismissed as “just a jarred finger”, and therefore people often don’t seek treatment until they come into the Corio Bay Sports Treatment Clinic Colac a couple of months later with a chronically stiff, swollen and sore finger. Quite annoying as you need your fingers for most activities.

How do I check if it’s just a Jarred finger?

A Jarred Finger should always be checked by a professional. Our Colac Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose the type of injury and differentiate the difference between a fracture, a tendon rupture and a sprain. Anything other than a mild sprain should always have an X-ray to check the alignment of the finger or for a fracture and we can send you for an X-ray if needed once we assess you.

What can a Physio do for my Jarred finger?

A Physio will assess the severity of the injury and stability of the finger, and then be able to give you a management plan and timeline for return to sport. Poorly managed fingers or premature return to sport can lead to long term problems.

A period of protection and support is required for most finger injuries and this can be with splinting or sometimes buddy taping is sufficient.  Fingers that are sprained however are generally moved relatively early where as fractures may need to be kept still for longer.

Our Colac Physiotherapists will help to:

  • control swelling in the joint
  • Tape or splint the joint to protect and allow healing
  • Prescribe exercises to regain movement and stability
  • Refer on for Surgery if needed and assist with rehab afterwards
  • Let you know if it is safe to continue sport or if you need time off.
  • We can make protective splints if needed for sport too!

To make sure you are looking after your fingers for now and the future, book an appointment today.

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Below are some pictures showing how to buddy tape some fingers as well as the blue splint is a thermoplastic splint that can be made by our physiotherapists Mark Zampatti or Manas Moholkar if you have a Mallet Finger.  This splint must be worn for 6-8 weeks to ensure that your tendon heals.  If this isn’t done you will end up with a floppy end of your finger that wont actively straighten and will get caught on things all the time. 

Check out the Youtube video below for more information.