Jersey Finger

Tendons in the fingers allow us to bend and straighten our digits, contributing to dexterity. Most of the muscles that provide this force are located back in the forearm to minimise bulk in the hand and fingers, thus the tendons are often quite long. The fingers are, however, quite susceptible to injury, especially when playing competitive ball sports.

What is Jersey Finger?

Jersey finger is an injury whereby the flexor tendon (tendon that bends the finger) ruptures at its insertion onto the end of the finger resulting in an inability to bend the most distal joint of the finger. 

This commonly occurs in the setting of tackling sports where the fingers are curled tightly around an opponent’s jersey before it is violently ripped out of one’s grip. The most frequently affected finger is the ring finger as this finger is relatively longer than the neighbouring digits when the fingers are curled over – check it out when you make your own fist!

Surgery for Jersey Finger

Surgery is almost always required for this type of injury as the flexor tendon has more tendency to retract further back into the finger once it has ruptured.

Surgery to repair the flexor tendon back to its bony insertion can use small sutures anchors, simple stitches or sometimes stitches that come out of the skin and are tied over a plastic button that sits over your fingernail (these days the use of an external button is quite rare).

Following surgery, working closely with a hand therapist is of critical importance to get the best result possible. This injury can take four to six months to feel like you have completely recovered.

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