Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from The Queen's Health Systems share the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Just a finger sprain?

I stubbed my finger playing basketball. How do I know if it's fractured or just a sprain? Learn more from Aimee Perreira, MD; hand, upper extremity and reconstructive microsurgery specialist.

Finger sprains in sports are very common, but so are fractures and joint dislocations. Sprains can be treated with buddy taping and early motion, but fractures often require surgical treatment or splinting for optimal outcome.

It is crucial to identify fractures as early as possible. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for me to see an athlete several weeks after the injury because he or she thought it was "just a sprain." This makes treatment more challenging and outcomes less successful.

So how do you tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture or dislocation? You need an x-ray. I encourage athletes and others to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they think the finger injury is insignificant. A good rule of thumb is, if there's swelling and pain, it needs an x-ray.

Finger sprain

Finger fracture-dislocation

Even simple sprains can result in significant joint contractures, which respond to therapy much better if they are caught early. So don't try to be a hero! Seek help immediately.

Want to learn more? West O'ahu residents now have access to orthopedic services closer to home. The new Orthopedic Center at The Queen's Medical Center - West O'ahu has experienced, board-certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of bone, muscle, tendon, nerve and ligament conditions. Get on the path to recovery! Call 808-691-3520 for more info or to make an appointment.



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