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Noticed swelling and stiffness in finger. Should I get it checked?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 11951 Questions
Hi, I just jammed my finger yesterday in basketball when a player from the opposing team charged into me when I had my fingers outstretched to catch the ball. I applied ice instantly. 24 hours later, there is no bruising, however my finger feels very stiff and is clearly only swollen on one side of the finger. The finger in question is the left ring finger and it is a lot more swollen on the side touching the middle finger. Should I go check it out, or just keep icing. The lack of bruising is perplexing to me as that has never happened to me before
Posted Wed, 20 Mar 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 26 minutes later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

The trauma can result in soft tissue injury or fracture. There are certain features which can distinguish the two.
A fracture in normally associated with persistent swelling and severe pain, possible deformity, limited mobility.

A soft tissue injury is damage to connective tissue, muscle or tendon. In most cases the injury is limited to muscle and connective tissue. Tendon injury is usually associated with open injury which tears the tendon, problems such as pain flexing the finger in question or inability to flex it altogether.

Bruising occurs when a blood vessel, usually small is damaged or ruptured. If it is not present ,it implies that there was no damage to any of the underlying blood vessels.

Normally to treat these injuries (in the absence of a fracture) the following is recommended: R.I.C.E which stands for rest,ice (which you have done), compression bandage (if there is swelling which would contribute to the pain and limited movement) and elevation (this also improves the pain and swelling).The use of pain medication in the anti-inflammatory family of drugs (aspirin/ibuprofen/cataflam/celebrex) , would also be helpful.

In the absence of any signs or symptoms pointing to a fracture, you can consider continuing icing it. If no improvement is noted after 24 to 48 hrs or there is worsening of your symptoms , then consider visiting your doctor.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed swelling and stiffness in finger. Should I get it checked? 8 minutes later
Is there any real danger if I continue playing with the strapped finger?
I forgot to mention sometimes it starts shaking when I try to hold it still
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 16 minutes later

It may prolong the healing time and aggravate any present problems, particularly if another injury occurs, if you can hold off for a few days (at least 4 to 5) it would be better.
The shaking is as a result of the acute injury and should resolve.

Please feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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