Exercises for a Hyperextended Finger

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There are several exercises for a hyperextended finger.
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A hyperextended finger is usually caused by bending your finger too far backward. This problem often happens when playing a sport, like basketball or football. Treatment for this injury will vary based on the severity of the damage, but in most cases, you'll need to start with stretching exercises.

What Is a Hyperextended Finger?

Each of your fingers has three joints. According to Harvard Health Publishing and Orthogate, the main joint closest to your palm is called the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint. The joint in the middle is called the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, and the one at the top, toward the end of your finger, is called the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint.

Several ligaments hold these joints together. One ligament in particular, known as the volar plate, links your finger joints to the palm side of the joint. The volar plate is one of the main ligaments that prevents hyperextension from occurring.

Read more: How to Improve Joint Strength

A hyperextended finger usually occurs when your finger is bent too far backward or sideways. Depending on the cause of the injury or the area that's been affected, a hyperextended finger might go by several different names.

According to the Marshfield Clinic and an October 2015 study in the Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy journal, finger hyperextension conditions include mallet finger, Jersey finger and gamekeeper's thumb. Mallet finger involves an inability to extend the tip of your finger, Jersey finger is an inability to flex the tip of your finger at the DIP joint and gamekeeper's thumb is a thumb sprain that affects the ulnar collateral ligament.

When finger hyperextension occurs, you'll likely have overstretched one of your finger's ligaments, like the volar plate or your thumb's ulnar collateral ligament. This is typically a minor injury, known as a finger sprain. Typical issues associated with this type of finger injury include swelling, tenderness, bruising and difficulties with mobility.

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that grade 1 and 2 finger sprains are generally considered to be mild or moderate types of damage. If you've stretched the ligament to the point of tearing, the damage should only affect part of the ligament. You'll usually want to ice and elevate the affected area and then splint or bandage it until it heals.

Other cases can be more serious, though. It's possible to dislocate your finger or fully tear its ligament. A complete ligament tear is known as a grade 3 finger sprain. When this type of sprain occurs, a piece of bone might also be torn away in the process (which is known as an avulsion fracture). This type of finger hyperextension is considered to be severe and may require surgery, depending on the level of damage.

Read more: 6 Vitamins and Nutrients to Make Your Tendons and Ligaments Strong

Hyperextended Finger Rehabilitation

Whether your treatment plan involves surgery or a sprained finger splint, you'll likely experience some difficulty with mobility. Fortunately, stretching exercises, like those recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians, can help improve range of motion. Certain exercises, like the ones recommended by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, can even be done while wearing a sprained finger splint.

Make sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting any physical therapy exercises as treatment plans for sprained and fractured fingers can differ. According to a November 2013 study published in the journal Hand Clinics, certain avulsion fractures may require you to perform range-of-motion exercises right away, while others need a longer period of rest and rehabilitation.

Tip

Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to determine the right finger hyperextension stretches for you. As your healing progresses, you'll likely need to perform strengthening exercises too.

Move 1: Full Finger Bend

  1. Guide your hyperextended finger into a bent shape. Don't bend your finger past the point of pain.
  2. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat 5 times.

Move 2: Fingertip Bend

  1. Guide the tip of your hyperextended finger into a bent shape. Only bend the tip and make sure that you're not causing yourself any pain.
  2. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat 5 times.

Move 3: Make a Fist

  1. Bend all of your fingers into the shape of a fist. Try to bend all of your joints as much as possible without causing yourself any pain.
  2. Hold this position for five seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat 5 times.

Move 4: Make a Half-Fist

  1. Bend the fingers of your hand into a hook shape.
  2. Hold this position for five seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat 5 times.

Move 5: Finger Extension

  1. Put your hand flat on a hard surface, like a table, palm down.
  2. Lift each finger up one at a time. If needed, use your other hand to help lift your fingers.
  3. Relax and repeat 5 times.

As your range of motion improves, try using your hyperextended finger more. Even just picking up small objects, like coins and marbles, can help restore function and increase mobility.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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