It Is Football Season: What is Jersey Finger (Flexor Tendon Rupture)

A jersey finger injury is most commonly seen in tackling sports such as football and occurs when a players finger gets caught in the jersey tearing the tendon. The tendon that is torn is the flexor tendon which is the tendon used to bend your finger. The injury usually occurs at the tip of the finger and the tendon snaps back to the base of the finger or even into the palm of the hand.

Common symptoms of jersey finger include not being able to bend finger down to your palm, as well as pain and swelling. Normally when your hand is at rest your fingers are always in a flexed position. When the flexor tendon is injured, the finger will straighten excessively at rest.

If jersey finger is not corrected surgically the finger will still be able to function, but the active motion of the injured finger will be very limited. Surgery to repair the injured tendon includes the following: Locating the tendon at the base of the finger or palm, thread the tendon into the proper position and securely reattaching the tendon to the tip of the finger. Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center physician Kevin Knox say “One of the greatest influences on getting a successful outcome in the treatment of a jersey finger is timely intervention.”

Flexor tendons have a tendency to become very stiff so rehabilitation with a therapist is important. Therapy will teach you how to move the tendon without pulling on the attached side. With the proper rehabilitation you can return to normal activates in about 4-6 months.

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