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.
1. Ice Therapy
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.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel.
- Apply this pack to the injured finger for 10 minutes.
- Allow the finger to return to normal temperature, then reapply an ice pack.
- Repeat the procedure 2 or 3 more times.
- Use ice packs 4 or 5 times throughout the day for the first couple of days.
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.
2. Splint the Finger
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.
3. Keep the Finger Elevated
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.
4. Rest the Finger
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.
5. Epsom Salt
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:
- Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of hot water. Dip the injured finger in this warm solution for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Another option is to mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in warm olive or coconut oil. Use it to massage your finger for 10 minutes, then soak it in warm water for another 10 minutes.
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.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil to make a thick paste. Apply this paste over the affected finger. Cover it with a bandage and leave it on for a couple of hours before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, heat ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink this before going to bed for about a week to help reduce pain and enjoy proper sleep.