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 hold bones to each other.
A finger sprain is when a force pushes the bones of the finger apart. If the force is strong enough, the ligament comes apart. This can happen from things like:
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how you injured your finger. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your finger.
It can be hard to tell a sprain from a fracture or dislocation. Pictures may be taken. This can be done with:
Treatment will depend on the joint and how severe the injury is. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:
Surgery may be needed to repair a finger sprain if:
Most sprains are due to accidents. They cannot always be prevented. The risk may be lowered by:
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, strains and other soft-tissue injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 14, 2020.
Topical NSAIDs. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/topical-nsaids. Accessed October 12, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 6/4/2021