As injuries go, hurting one’s finger may not seem like such a big deal. However, the fingers are among the most frequently used parts of the body. People rely on their fingers to type, grasp objects, eat, scratch, and maintain good hygiene. So when one or more fingers are injured, day-to-day activities can become very difficult or even impossible.
Finger injuries can occur for several reasons, such as when they are struck by a hard object, fractured in an accident, or used to break a sudden fall. If an individual experiences pain or difficulty moving the fingers after a traumatic incident, he or she should consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
In addition to bone fractures, some common finger injuries include dislocations and ruptured ligaments. Also, other medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendinitis, or Dupuytren's contracture (a hereditary disease of the hands) can make finger usage troublesome or painful.
While a doctor will prescribe the proper treatment to heal a finger injury, there are also certain exercises the patient can do at home that will help strengthen the fingers and improve their range of motion.
It is important to check with a physician before starting any finger exercise regimens after an injury.
These exercises are commonly recommended and can be completed two or three times a day (or more often if approved by a physician) in sets of ten to twelve repetitions.
Range of Motion: Range of motion exercises are performed by bending one or more joints and moving them in all the directions they would normally move. The patient straightens the injured fingers using the uninjured fingers or hand, and then holds the hurt fingers in this position for a period of time before bending them back. The person can try bending the injured finger near the large knuckle, the middle joint, and the tip joint of the injured finger as well as bending all three joints at once. This exercise helps to improve the mobility of the fingers that have been injured.
Finger Extension: The patient starts by comfortably placing the injured hand on a flat surface with the palm down. Then he or she lifts every finger separately and then returns it to the original position after a few seconds. The person can also try a rubber band finger extension exercise. He or she brings all of the fingertips together and places a rubber band around the fingers. Then the patient moves the fingers apart simultaneously, holds the stretch for two to three seconds, and then relaxes the hand.
Grip Strengthening Exercise: One of the most effective ways of improving the grip of fingers that have been hurt is by using grip strengthening devices. The person can take a soft rubber ball (sometimes these are called “stress buster balls”) and squeeze it slowly with the injured fingers. If no such device is available, curling the fingers into a tight fist for a few seconds can also help. This exercise is usually done to strengthen the finger muscles; though it is important not to overwork the fingers, which can result in more damage to the joints or muscles.
Object Pick-Up: The person should try picking up small, light objects with the injured fingers. Coins, marbles, buttons, pens, or pencils can be used for this type of exercise. This action will help patients improve their dexterity so can they can better carry out their daily activities like writing, eating, or tying shoelaces.
Finger injuries are very common in sports, but anyone can suffer one. When an injury happens, it is vital that the person tries to exercise the fingers as soon as permission is received from a physician; because keeping the fingers motionless can potentially lead to the complete loss of finger mobility. Though these exercises may be cumbersome, uncomfortable, or a bit painful at first, patients must stick with their regimens in order to facilitate a complete recovery from their finger injuries.