What Are the Different Ways to Treat a Jammed Finger?
A jammed thumb, baseball finger or a skier’s thumb happens when the tip gets squashed by or against something. A lot of people get it jammed while doing sports when they hit something, typically a ball or when they fall. The stretched ligament, typically the collateral ligament, or a broken bone are an often reason why this injury is so painful. It typically gets red, enlarged and it hurts while moving.
When you want to treat your injury you should first see how badly it is injured by trying to move the thumb. If it’s too painful to even think of moving it, it usually means that it is broken; Hence, it is recommended to get X-rays to rule out a finger fracture. Also, if symptoms persist and seem more severe, see a physician. Otherwise it is only twisted a little bit. However, in both cases you should take care of your injury. There are many home remedies that you can try to help heal your jammed thumb. Be sure that you treat the thumb daily until the swelling has subsided. Once the swelling is gone, you can return to your normal daily activities.
Home Remedies for Jammed Finger
Rest your finger
The simplest way to relieve pain is to rest your finger until it gets better. You may have a more serious injury if you continue using your hand after suffering from a finger injury. Continual strain will lead to increased inflammation, pain and possible further injury. Plus, without rest, the healing time will gradually increase.
Apply ice to the jammed thumb to treat it. Ice packs are great to use and fill with ice. If an ice pack isn’t available, you can place ice inside of a plastic bag and place on the jammed thumb. Ice helps with the swelling and will temporarily numb the thumb, helping with the pain. Ice should be applied for at least 15 to 20 minutes and repeated daily until the thumb is back to normal.
Use the adjacent finger as a splint
To immobilize your jammed finger, use the next finger as a splint by simply taping the injured finger to it. This will protect your injured finger from inadvertently getting hit against something, causing delayed healing.
Keep the Finger Elevated
When suffering from a jammed finger, keep the affected finger elevated above chest level. This will increase venous return of blood to the systemic circulation, which in turn reduces discomforts like swelling, inflammation and pain.
Elevation also facilitates elimination of waste products and speeds up the healing process.
Elevation is one of the elements of ‘RICE’, a mnemonic for 4 elements used to treat soft tissue injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. While sleeping or sitting, keep a few pillows by your side on which to rest and elevate your hand.
Soak your thumb in Epsom salt to help it heal. Epsom salt is often used for sore muscles and can help soothe a sprain. Pour about a cup of Epsom salt into a container, mix it with water and soak the thumb for about 20 minutes. Soaking the thumb in Epsom salt will not only help it heal, it will help with the pain.
Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce pain and swelling. Plus, a compound known as curcumin in turmeric helps improve blood flow throughout your body. Proper blood circulation is important for the healing process.
• Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with enough melted coconut oil to make a thick paste. Apply this paste over the affected finger. Cover it with a bandage and leave it on for a couple of hours before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
• Also, heat ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink this before going to bed for about a week to help reduce pain and enjoy proper sleep.
Olive oil can also be used to relieve pain in a jammed finger. Olive oil contains a compound that helps prevent pro-inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing inflammation and pain. It also keeps the skin moisturized to promote healing.
Massaging the affected finger with olive oil helps improve blood circulation and reduces stiffness, which in turn promotes healing.
• Rub some warm olive oil on the affected finger. Use gentle yet firm strokes to massage the finger for about 5 minutes. Do this 2 or 3 times daily as needed.
Note: If massage makes the pain worse, stop doing it and consult a doctor.
Ginger is one of the best natural painkillers to reduce the discomforts associated with a jammed finger. It contains a compound called gingerol that has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. In fact, gingerol’s effect is similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Ginger also helps block COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain. Drink homemade ginger tea 2 or 3 times daily for a couple of weeks to aid the healing process and expedite recovery.
To make the tea:
• Put 1 tablespoon of ginger slices in 2 cups of water.
• Boil and then simmer the water for 10 minutes.
• Strain, add a little honey and drink it while it is still warm.
Aloe vera also helps in relieving inflammation associated with a jammed finger due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
It is effective in reducing the stiffness and soreness in the joints of your finger. The vitamins and amino acids in it also help repair damaged skin.
• Cut open an aloe vera leaf, extract the gel and apply it on the injured finger. Massage gently to increase blood circulation, then allow it to dry before wiping it off with a wet tissue. Repeat once or twice daily until you see improvement.
• Also, drink a cup of aloe vera juice twice daily for a couple of weeks to notice reduction in inflammation and pain.
• For the first week following injury, refrain from very strenuous activity.
• After a few days, slowly try to move the finger in order to restore its range of motion.
• Take fish oil supplements, after consulting your doctor. Fish oil is a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids that help lubricate the joints and restore damaged nerve tissue.
• If symptoms persist or worsen, see an orthopedic physician.
Compiled by Manizheh Soleimani Fard