Athletes are very familiar with this injury because it happens when a ball (or anything) jams into the end of your finger. It temporarily causes a sort of paralysis of your finger. Sometimes the symptoms go right away as you start to will your finger to bend. Sometimes you’ll need an XRAY. And sometimes you’ll need the right exercises to get rid of the stiffness, swelling, and pain that is lingering in your knuckles. Insight into Injury can help!


If you jam a finger, first you’ll have to assess if anything fractured. If you’re in the clear, then starting right in with gentle active movements will get that finger feeling better faster. Open and close your fist, spread out your fingers wide. Keep the circulation going through. Most jammed fingers just need a few minutes of TLC, and then will remind you the next couple of mornings when you wake up a little more stiff or swollen. Rule out a fracture, then keep up with frequent gentle movements to keep the circulation going.


Video Transcript: Jammed Fingers
Jammed fingers are a very important concern for me. They happen quite often and can be annoying and slow ya down. The most typical example of how a jammed finger occurs is when someone is catching a basketball but doesn’t quite have the angle right, and the ball slams forcefully into the end of their finger. It compresses everything together and momentarily leaves you wondering if you broke your finger. You start to wiggle it a bit, bending and extending it little by little, and eventually start having normal feeling again and realize that it’s probably not broken. If you’re sure it’s not broken- sometimes you may find it advisable to have an XRAY taken – then the best thing to do for your finger is to be sure you’re keeping the circulation going through it. Kinda like the ‘walk it off’ concept. I’m Josie, a physical therapist, and also an athlete and a piano player, -and the number one exercise to do if you’ve jammed your finger and are sure it isn’t broken, is to simply open and close your fist repeatedly. I’d do about 5 reps every 30 minutes or so until it feels normal. It’s likely that your pain will resolve in a few hours at most, but if it’s lingering, or if you wake up the next day feeling stiff and painful, then you’re gonna wanna take a look at my full length PT session video to speed along your recovery. Good luck!