I have finger pain

15 Jun I have finger pain

So you were kicking the footy, or bouncing a basketball, when the ball collected the end of your finger and it really hurt. Now your finger is swollen and hurts to move. What do you do?


Well what you do for finger pain actually depends on two things.

1.Did the joint dislocate or pop out of place?


If the answer is NO or YES it dislocated but it is now in place and you can move it without it popping out again, then it is likely that you will be okay with a bit of care from a hand therapist and time. Light compression and ice may help with the swelling, but you may need an X-ray to confirm that the joint is in the right spot and that you don’t have a bad fracture. Buddy taping may be sufficient, or you may need to wear a splint, have some time off sport and learn how to protect the finger. The hand therapist can assist or guide you with that.

If the answer is YES but you are not certain the joint is back in place, and your movement is affected, then you need to get an X-ray immediately. You may need help to re-locate the joint, and you will almost certainly need help to get the finger moving again. In any case, you must get clear advice as to what is going on with the joint.


2.Can you bend and straighten the affected joint?


If the answer is NO, then what happens next depends very much on

A) which joint is affected and;

B) what structure is injured.

This is easy to determine in the clinic, less so on Google, so I’d suggest you have a professional look at the finger immediately. Your hand therapist can help with this and will let you know exactly what needs to be done.

If the answer is YES, then the fact that you are looking for help for finger pain would indicate that a visit to the hand therapist is warranted. He or she can advise you on exercises, how to protect the joint so that it heals strongly, and all the do’s and don’ts associated with recovery.


Finger injuries are often ignored with the result that a preventable problem becomes a painful and chronic reality. Your hands help you interact with the world and deserve to be looked after. We can help with that so that the next time a bouncing ball comes your way you are ready!


Highly experienced hand therapist Hamish Anderson consults at SportsFit in Glen Iris on Tuesdays, and you can book an appointment HERE.