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Jersey Finger Answers

Jersey finger (also known as rugby finger) describes a detachment of the tendon that flexes the tip of the ring finger.

How does Jersey Finger happen? The injury most commonly affects the ring finger.1 It often occurs in rugby or football when a player grabs another player’s jersey with the tips of one or more fingers while that player is pulling or running away. The force hyperextends the tip of the finger at the joint while the other portion of the finger is flexed. This results in rupture of the tendon at or near its attachment. The injury can also occur in sports that require a lot of arm and hand strength, such as rock climbing and wrestling.

The athlete usually reports feeling a “pop” and cannot bend the fingertip. There is pain along the surface when touched and also into the palm. A lump may be present along these areas along with swelling and bruising.

Treatment Jersey finger usually requires surgical intervention. Early recognition and treatment of these injuries increases success of repair and return to play. Seeing a trained sports medicine professional as soon as possible following the injury is critical for recovery.

Rehabilitation Post-operative care includes splinting and occupational therapy. This is to prevent stiffness and scarring. Return to sport is usually 4–6 months to allow for full tendon healing.

Reference 1. Manske PR, Lesker PA. Avulsion of the ring finger flexor digitorum profundus tendon: an experimental study. Hand. 1979.10 (1): 52-5.

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