Training Time: Jammed Finger

Training Time with Max Benton

Max Benton is the Cavaliers Athletic Trainer and tends to the immediate medical needs of the team’s players. Most of his duties center around preventative medicine, treatment, and rehabilitation.

This information should not be used as diagnosis of a particular condition and is intended only to be informative. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult a doctor.


A jammed finger is a common sports injury and it painful as well. Jammed fingers generally do not show up in non-contact sports (track and field, swimming), but more so in contact sports (football, basketball) where the fingers jam when hitting the floor or ground or when a ball hits the finger straight on.


A jammed finger, sometime called a mallet finger, refers to joint swelling in the finger from an end-on injury. Extremely painful, they occur when the tendon in the finger is stretched or torn, or the bone attached to the tendon is broken off. They require immediate treatment to start and aid healing and will take anywhere from four to eight weeks to heal completely.


An injury results when the finger is hit on something or when the finger is jammed against an object.

You may notice some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness of the injured area
  • Limited range of motion
  • Drooped fingertip


    You will most likely want to contact your physician and he or she will likely order X-rays on your finger. A splint is often recommended to keep the fingers immobile. Occasionally, surgery may be required.

    In addition to visiting with your doctor, you may want to observe these steps to promote healing:

  • Apply ice—15 to 20 minutes each hour for the first day to two days;
  • Apply heat—after the first day or two
  • Keep the affected area above your heart after the first 48 hours
  • Continue to wear the finger splint as long as your doctor requests you do to so
  • Several times per day, move the part of your finger not covered by the splint
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication that will reduce pain

    Your finger should start feeling better by taking these recommended steps. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call your doctor:

  • Pain or swelling becomes worse
  • Finger becomes more red and swollen
  • Finger feels number, cold, tingly, or turns white and blue
  • You misplace your splint