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Jersey Finger


(Flexor Digitorum Profundus Rupture)  

Jersey finger is an injury to the finger flexor tendons resulting in an inability to bend a fingertip. Flexor digitorum profundus is the tendon on the inside of the fingers that is injured. This injury can be a tendon strain, rupture, or an avulsion (a piece of bone pulled off with the end of the injured tendon). The ring finger is usually involved and this injury is caused by a sudden extension of the finger against resistance, like when an athlete grabs another player's jersey and the jersey is ripped out of his hand. Hence the name jersey finger.
Risk of injury increases with sports that involve grasping, such as rugby, football (during tackling), and ice hockey when gloves are removed and the players grab each other's shirts.


Pain when moving the injured finger and an inability to bend the last joint

A pop or rip felt in the finger at the time of injury
Finger can be bent forward by someone else (passive)
Tenderness, swelling, and warmth of the injured finger
Bruising after 48 hours
Occasionally a lump felt in the palm or finger



Possible Complications

Prolonged healing time if stressed too soon

Frequent recurrence of symptoms and repeated injury can cause a chronic problem

Injury to other structures (bone, cartilage, or tendon) and chronically unstable or arthritic finger joint with repeated sprains

Finger stiffness and disability
Unstable or arthritic last joint of the injured finger
Poor finger function
Rerupture of the tendon
Pain or weakness with gripping




This condition usually requires surgical repair.  Return to sports is usually not recommended for at least 3 months after surgery.


The initial phase of rest, ice, and elevation is usually followed by surgery then a graduated program of stretching and strengthening. It is especially important to concentrate on increasing the endurance of the injured area muscles and supporting muscles to help prevent future injury. One often neglected part of rehabilitation involves re-training proprioception in the injured area. This has also been shown to help reduce the incidence of re-injury. An athletic trainer or physical therapist is often very helpful during this phase of treatment.


Topical ointments or liniments may be beneficial. Injections of corticosteroids may be given to reduce inflammation.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) or other minor pain relievers (such as acetaminophen) may be recommended. Take these medications only as directed by your physician. Contact your physician if any bleeding, stomach upset, black tarry stools, or signs of an allergic reaction occur. Many believe that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) help reduce pain and inflammation. However, there is some evidence that certain subtypes of NSAIDS can impair ligament healing. Because of this, some experts will prescribe only certain NSAIDS or even simple analgesics like acetaminophen. Some will avoid all NSAIDS when treating a ligament injury.