Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

Jersey Finger? See a Hand Surgeon

Jersey finger isn’t a common injury, but if you play football or soccer you might know someone who’s had it.

“It’s when an individual player is trying to tackle another player, and the finger gets caught on the jersey and then gets hyperextended at the most distal joint,” explains hand surgeon Bobby Chhabra, MD, who works with UVA’s athletics department on hand and upper extremity injuries. The flexor tendon then gets pulled off the bone. Your ring finger is most susceptible.

Jersey finger symptoms?

Make an appointment at the UVA Hand Center.

Frequently, these athletes keep playing, but after the adrenaline of the game wears off, the soreness sets in. Jersey finger symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • A black and blue fingertip
  • Tenderness along the palm side of the finger
  • Inability to bend the furthest joint from the palm or make a full fist

After the injury, you can try to relieve symptoms with ice and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. But “you should know within a day or two whether you can move every joint,” Chhabra says. If you can’t, “you should be concerned for either a fracture in the finger or a tendon injury.”

If someone has those symptoms, “It’s important — it’s imperative — that they see a hand surgeon.” And fast, because the tendon can pull back into the palm of the hand, and there’s a limited time window to fix that.

Chhabra discusses jersey finger symptoms and treatment in this week’s podcast.

Tags: orthopedics

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week