The term "jammed finger" commonly refers to injuries to the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) of the finger (the middle knuckle). A jammed finger injury most often occurs when there is forceful pressure exerted along the length of the finger. This force along with hyperextension (bending backwards) can disrupt the complex arrangement of ligaments around the PIP joint.
Swelling around the joint and stretching or tearing of these ligaments can result in a PIP joint permanently bent into flexion (towards the palm) and loss of extension (straightening) at the DIP joint just below the fingernail (also see definition of Boutonniere Deformity).
The anatomy of the PIP joint is complex and several types of injuries can result in permanent disability if left undiagnosed or untreated. Injury to the PIP joint is common in athletics, especially ball-handling sports, and can cause serious long term problems if left untreated.
Swelling of the PIP joint, joint tenderness and loss of motion are evidence of a jammed finger. In severe cases, bruising will be evident and there may also be loss of motion at the DIP joint. An x-ray is necessary to rule out a fracture.
How a 3-Point Splint Can Help
Once a fracture has been ruled out, a jammed finger is generally rested in full extension (straight). Use two Oval-8 Finger Splints to hold the PIP joint in extension. When motion is allowed, the adjacent uninjured finger will help the injured finger move by using a 3pp Buddy Loop to hold the fingers together. A 3pp Final Flexion Wrap may be used to help regain full bending of the finger at the PIP and DIP joints.
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