A finger sprain is an injury to a joint that causes a stretch or tear in a ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another.
A sprain usually occurs when there is an accident. For example, a ball may hit the tip of your child's finger or the child may fall forcefully onto the finger.
Your child will have pain, swelling, and tenderness in the finger.
Your child's healthcare provider will examine the finger. An X-ray may be taken to be sure none of the bones are broken.
Treatment may include:
Your child's healthcare provider will probably recommend that the sprained finger be splinted or "buddy taped" (taped to the finger next to it) for 1 to 4 weeks after the injury.
Your child's finger may remain swollen with decreased flexibility and strength for many weeks. Sometimes the joint swelling may take weeks or months to go away and in some cases may be permanent. It is important that your child continues doing finger exercises during and even after returning to normal activities. These exercises help strengthen your child's finger and improve range of motion.
Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Your child's return to activities depends on how soon the finger recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since the injury happened. In general, the longer your child has symptoms before starting treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal is to return to normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If your child returns too soon the finger may get worse instead of better.
In many cases, your child will be able to return to sports or activities as long as he or she wears a splint or has the fingers taped together.