Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How do I Treat a Sprained Finger?

Treating a sprained finger involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Gently immobilize the finger with a splint or buddy tape, and apply ice for 15-20 minutes every hour to reduce swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers can alleviate discomfort. If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional. Curious about step-by-step care with visuals? Dive into our detailed guide with illustrative images next.
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

If you have sprained your finger, the first thing you should do is try to relieve the pain with ice and medication that you likely already have at home. Once the pain has been lessened, you should either tape it to an uninjured finger next to it, or put it in a splint. Keep it immobilized when participating in sports or other activities during which it could be re-injured, and position your hand above your heart when possible to help the healing process along.

The first thing on your mind after getting a sprained finger is likely reducing the pain, which can be done by applying ice to the area. This should immediately reduce both the swelling and tenderness. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen can also reduce swelling and pain, while acetaminophen does not reduce swelling, but does decrease both pain and a fever. If none of these pain relievers appear to work, ask a medical professional for stronger medication to treat severe pain, and also to make sure that your finger is not broken.

Applying an ice pack to a sprained finger should immediately reduce both swelling and pain.
Applying an ice pack to a sprained finger should immediately reduce both swelling and pain.

It is important to protect your finger from further injury, which can be done by placing a protective layer over it. You can purchase a splint from the drugstore, or get one from a healthcare professional, which will keep you from bending the finger or accidentally using it while it heals. If you do not have fast access to a splint, you can tape the injured finger to an uninjured one next to it so that it stays straight and goes unused during the recovery period. Leave the splint or tape on for about a week, as less time will not usually allow it to heal completely, while a longer amount of time can result in stiff, weakened hand ligaments.

A person wearing a finger splint.
A person wearing a finger splint.

While you should take the splint or tape off after about a week in most cases, many medical professionals advise that you keep it on when it has a particularly high chance of being injured once again, such as during sports. Even a slight bump or finger jam that might not hurt much when your fingers are uninjured can hurt quite a bit when an already sprained finger is still healing. In fact, consider using a splint with a metal exterior during any activities, as this should protect it the most. When possible, you should also try to keep the finger elevated above heart level so that the inflammation can decrease over time.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

anon284672

Go to the doctor if it's been a week and if it's been not that long, try some ben-gay and try not to move it and don't touch it or fiddle with your finger!

anon140263

i bent my pinky finger back when i fell of my bike and it is swollen. my dad thinks i have sprained it so we have taped it together with my other finger next to it for support. it's been a few days and my finger is still swollen. what should i do?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Applying an ice pack to a sprained finger should immediately reduce both swelling and pain.
      By: Kimberly Reinick
      Applying an ice pack to a sprained finger should immediately reduce both swelling and pain.
    • A person wearing a finger splint.
      By: Rob Byron
      A person wearing a finger splint.
    • A man with a sprained finger.
      By: Cathlin
      A man with a sprained finger.
    • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen, can reduce the swelling and pain of a sprained finger.
      By: Geo Martinez
      Taking an anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen, can reduce the swelling and pain of a sprained finger.
    • When a person has a sprained finger, reducing the associated pain becomes a priority.
      By: nebari
      When a person has a sprained finger, reducing the associated pain becomes a priority.