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Jammed Finger

Diagnosis and Treatment


Updated May 19, 2014

Senior woman rubbing knuckles, cropped
PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The term jammed finger refers to finger joint pain and swelling from an impact injury. Jammed fingers are extremely painful, and require immediate treatment to aid healing.

The first steps to treating such an injury is icing and elevating the finger. Ice the injury for 15 minutes and then remove the ice until the finger temperature returns to normal. Then repeat the process. After the swelling decreases and the pain subsides, try to move the finger very slightly. If the injury is mild, you will be able to move with little discomfort over a short time. If the finger doesn't move easily or the pain gets worse, see a physician and have an x-ray to determine if there is a bone fracture.

Most jammed fingers heal completely if there is no fracture or dislocation. If there is a fracture or dislocation, it can take months to heal. Pain may last months and the injured joint may be larger than those of uninjured fingers. Physical therapy exercises are helpful to get a full recovery.

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