by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A finger sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the finger. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.
A finger sprain may be caused by a blow to the finger. This makes the finger bend too much or in the wrong way. This can happen during sports when you jam a finger into someone else, the ball, or piece of equipment. Finger sprains may also happen in other ways, such as falling on the hand.
Risk Factors TOP
Here are some factors that may raise your risk:
Having this problem may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and how you injured your finger. The doctor will look at your finger.
Pictures may be taken of your finger. This can be done with:
Finger sprains are graded from 1 to 3:
Grade 3 TOP
Treatment may include:
RICE therapy may be advised to reduce discomfort:
In addition to RICE therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines can help with pain.
Splinting and Taping TOP
A splint may be needed to keep the finger in place. The finger may need to be taped to the finger next to it when you go back to sports. This is known as buddy taping.
Surgery may be needed to repair a finger sprain if:
You can lower your risk of getting a finger sprain by learning and practicing correct technique in sports and using proper equipment. However, in many cases, sprains cannot be prevented.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
Sprains and strains: What's the difference? Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 2015. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS
Last Updated: 6/11/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.