Jammed Finger


Jammed Finger (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • A jammed finger is an injury to a tendon or bone in the tip of the finger. It is also called mallet or baseball finger. The tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone) may be stretched or torn. Or, the bone where the tendon attaches may be broken. A jammed finger happens when the fingertip is jammed against something or hits it straight on. It is a common sports injury.

  • Your finger may be swollen, red, and hurt. The tip of the finger may droop down. You may not be able to move the jammed finger as you normally would move it. You may need to have an x-ray of your finger. It may take 4 to 8 weeks for the injury to heal.


  • The most important part of treating an injured finger is resting the finger while it heals. Resting your finger lessens swelling and allows the injury to heal. When the pain decreases, begin normal, slow movements.

  • Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps lessen inflammation (swelling, pain, and redness). Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Put this on your finger for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. Do not sleep on the ice pack because you can get frostbite.

  • Keep your hand raised above your heart. This helps lessen both pain and swelling.

  • Medicines:

    • Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. If you think it is not helping or if you feel you are having side effects, call your caregiver. Do not quit taking it until you discuss it with your caregiver.

    • Keep a written list of what medicines you are taking and when you take them. Bring the list of your medicines or the pill bottles when you see your caregiver(s). Learn why you take each medicine. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicines.

    • You may use ibuprofen (i-bew-pro-fin) and acetaminophen (uh-c-tuh-min-o-fin) for your pain. These may be bought as over-the-counter medicine. Do not take ibuprofen if you are allergic to aspirin.

    • If you scratched or tore some skin, you may also need a tetanus shot or antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine. If you got a tetanus shot, your arm may get swollen, red, and warm to touch at the shot site. This is a normal reaction to the medicine in the shot.

    • If you are taking antibiotics (an-ti-bi-ah-tiks), take them until they are all gone even if you feel better.

  • Caregivers may wrap your finger with tape or a finger splint to keep your finger from moving. Caregivers may tell you to keep this splint on all the time for 6 to 8 weeks. You may need to continue to use the splint during sports activities for another 6 to 8 weeks.

    • You may remove the splint each day to wash your finger.

    • When your splint is off, do not try to bend the tip of your finger.

    • Put your splint back on as soon as possible. When retaping, make sure the splint is in the same place and position. You may also retape the splint if it gets wet. If your finger is numb or tingling, the splint may be too tight. Loosen the tape so your finger is comfortable.

    • Move the part of your injured finger that is not covered by the splint several times a day.


  • You have pain or swelling that is getting worse.

  • Your finger is more swollen and very red.

  • Your finger feels numb, tingly, or cold even after you loosen your splint.

  • Your finger looks white or blue and feels cold.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Jammed Finger (Discharge Care)