If you have sustained a bruised finger joint from a trauma or twist to one of your digits, then you have come to the right place.
Here’s insight into what causes bruising of fingers and also an in-depth look into the various home and medical treatments that you may want to use.
Badly bruised finger joint?
A badly bruised finger is usually the result of trauma to one or more fingers e.g. when someone sustains a blow from a hammer, a car door, a basketball, a desk drawer or any other hard surface or moving object. It can also occur as a result of a fall or a twisting of the finger.
It usually occurs when the connective tissues such as cartilage, ligaments and joint capsules in a finger get damaged on impact.
With the exception of the thumb, human fingers have 3 small bones called phalanges. These are fused to one another at Interphalangeal joints (IP joints) with the lowest positioned one being fused to the palm at the Metacarpophalangeal Joints (MCP joints).
Each of the 3 resultant joints comprises of strong connective tissues as follows: ligaments and joint capsules on the outside bony edges and cartilage occurring in between the joint surfaces.
Any activity that places too much compression or stretching forces can cause badly bruised finger joint as a result of the ensuing damage to the cartilage or tearing off of the connective tissues around the joint. Severe finger bruising can affect one or more of the IP and MCP joints.
A severe bruise on the finger often causes an onset of pain in the finger as soon as trauma or injury is experienced. The pain may be felt on the front, back or both sides of the affected finger and varies depending on the severity of the damage caused.
Other symptoms associated with bruising of finger joint are discoloration, swelling, tenderness, pain, and difficulty moving the affected joint.Unlike pain which is typically specific to the affected joint, swelling may involve adjacent fingers as well.
Bruising of a finger joint may occur immediately after a trauma or impact in more severe cases, but it may as well be a few hours before bruising occurs. Some patients may also experience numbness of the finger when swelling causes the nerves to be compressed ad in some cases, the bruised hand may feel weak.
Symptoms are generally exacerbated by activities that involves using the hands and fingers e.g. opening a door or a jar, writing, typing, catching a ball, or handling a heavy object with the affected hand or fingers.
Now that we know what causes bruising of fingers and finger joints, here’s how to treat a bruised finger naturally and using other methods of treatment.
The aim of treatment is to reduce the appearance of symptoms such as pain and swelling and restore movement to any injured joint. Your doctor will first assess the damage and may advise that you have an X-ray (and in some cases an MRI or CT scan) done to confirm diagnosis and rule out fractures and other more serious forms of injuries.
Your doctor will then decide the most appropriate treatment for a bruised finger based on the diagnosis. Some of the options on how to treat bruises are:
- Splinting and taping
- Physiotherapy exercises
- Comprehensive bandaging
- Ultrasound therapy
- Surgical treatment although this is pretty uncommon. It may be necessary if one or more ligaments have been torn
Swollen bruised finger
“I have a swollen and bruised thumb following an injury a week ago while playing basketball with my friend. It initially hurt in the in the middle section surrounding the joint, but the pain has since receded, only being felt when I press it. The thumb is however still swollen and bruised and I am worried it could be fractured. Any advice is highly appreciated.”
From what this anonymous but important user says, it is unlikely that he suffered a fracture given the fast rate at which the pain receded. As for swelling and bruising, it may be a matter of weeks before it completely clear.
Applying ice packs and keeping the swollen finger propped up above the heart is the best course of action. These both helps reduce swelling but the latter can also help with re-absorption of blood leaked from blood vessels into surrounding tissues, leading to formation of bruises.
Pinky and middle finger
“I slipped off on a muddy road while hiking in the mountains last weekend (2 days ago) and sustained some injury to the pinky finger and middle finger from the fall.
They have since become bruised (blue color on the undersides) and are quite painful and swollen. The finger can move back and forth but cannot easily bend. Will this clear by itself or should I go get checked?”
The pinky and middle fingers have indeed sprained from the fall but should heal with time. Buddy taping the fingers with those adjacent to them will help to splint and protect the middle and pinkly bruisedfingers.
After 3 days or so, try moving the fingers around gently and see how it goes. If the condition has not yet improved by then, schedule a consultation with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
It could be that you have suffered a fracture or a more serious problem such as a torn ligament.
How to heal it
A bruised finger is in most cases not a serious injury, but keep in mind that it might as well be a sign of a more serious condition such as a fracture or muscle tear. So, how do you heal a bruised finger with home remedies?
It is thus advisable to seek medical attention if pain and swelling becomes severe or lasts for more than 5 days. The same case applies to a finger that has lost mobility. In the meantime, the following home remedies can help to aid in healing of the bruising.
Apply an ice or cold pack on the bruised finger for 10-20 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling. Simply place some ice cubes or frozen peas in a small towel or cloth and pat the affected area with them gently.
Keep the affected hand elevated to a level above your heart while sitting or lying down to help reduce swelling.
Take over-the-counter pain medicines such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help relieve the discomfort.