A jammed finger is a common issue among people who are actively involved in sports. It generally refers to a sprain or injury to one of the three joints in a finger. It usually occurs from an impact injury. Your toes also can become jammed.
Some signs of a jammed finger include pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, swelling, inflammation and tenderness to touch.
Do not dismiss symptoms of a jammed finger. If not treated timely, the injury can be very painful and lead to chronic ailments.
Minor cases of finger injury can be treated at home. It may take a few weeks for the finger to heal completely.
This type of finger injury heals relatively quickly, if no fracture has occurred. If there is a fracture, the pain will be unbearable and the healing process will take longer.
Hence, it is recommended to get X-rays to rule out a finger fracture. Also, if symptoms persist and seem more severe, see a physician.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat a jammed finger.
As soon as you suffer a jammed finger injury, applying ice is a must. Ice reduces the body’s inflammatory response and helps ease pain and swelling to a considerable extent.
Instead of ice, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables. While using ice therapy, you need to rest the affected finger to ensure quick healing.
Note: Never apply ice directly on your skin. Also, people who have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation should talk with their doctor before applying ice.
Keep the affected finger splinted or immobilized until the pain is completely gone. A splint will keep the affected finger straight and prevent movement while it heals.
The splint should not be too tight, which can inhibit blood circulation and lead to numbness or tingling sensations.
If wearing a splint is uncomfortable, you may remove it each day for some time, but be sure not to bend your finger too much.
You may need to wear the splint for 1 to 4 weeks, depending upon the severity of the injury and how quickly the finger heals.
For a minor jammed finger, you can even tape the affected finger to an adjacent finger and be sure to restrict usage and allow it to rest.
When suffering from a jammed finger, keep the affected finger elevated above chest level. This will increase venous return of blood to the systemic circulation, which in turn reduces discomforts like swelling, inflammation and pain.
Elevation also facilitates elimination of waste products and speeds up the healing process.
Elevation is one of the elements of ‘RICE’, a mnemonic for 4 elements used to treat soft tissue injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
While sleeping or sitting, keep a few pillows by your side on which to rest and elevate your hand.
To ensure quick healing, you need to allow the injured finger to rest. Proper rest is a key component for repairing soft tissue damage.
Continual strain will lead to increased inflammation, pain and possible further injury. Plus, without rest, the healing time will gradually increase.
Rest the injured finger as much as possible and avoid any jerky, painful movements. Any kind of strenuous activity will only aggravate the injury.
You can continue exercising the rest of your body and muscles to prevent deconditioning.
Epsom salt consists of magnesium and sulfate that work together to reduce inflammation and pain. It is even effective at reducing swelling, one of the biggest discomforts associated with a jammed finger.
You can start using Epsom salt 48 hours after the injury has occured. Follow either of these remedies once each day to relax your painful finger:
Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce pain and swelling. Plus, a compound known as curcumin in turmeric helps improve blood flow throughout your body.
Proper blood circulation is important for the healing process.
Olive oil can also be used to relieve pain in a jammed finger. Olive oil contains a compound that helps prevent pro-inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing inflammation and pain. It also keeps the skin moisturized to promote healing.
Massaging the affected finger with olive oil helps improve blood circulation and reduces stiffness, which in turn promotes healing.
Note: If massage makes the pain worse, stop doing it and consult a doctor.
Ginger is one of the best natural painkillers to reduce the discomforts associated with a jammed finger. It contains a compound called gingerol that has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
In fact, gingerol’s effect is similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Ginger also helps block COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain.
Drink homemade ginger tea 2 or 3 times daily for a couple of weeks to aid the healing process and expedite recovery. To make the tea:
Tea tree oil, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, can relieve pain and inflammation in the injured finger. In addition, its antiseptic properties will help prevent infection.
Aloe vera also helps in relieving inflammation associated with a jammed finger due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
It is effective in reducing the stiffness and soreness in the joints of your finger. The vitamins and amino acids in it also help repair damaged skin.
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