Can You Play Football with a Fractured Finger?

Finger fractures are common in athletes. The injured finger is typically splinted for 2 to 3 weeks while the bone heals. However, you may be able to continue to play football while your finger heals, depending on the severity of the injury and the treating doctor's recommendation. Your football association or school will likely have rules regarding the use of splints during play, which may affect whether you can participate.

A coach watches a football game in progress from the sidelines. (Image: Turk12/iStock/Getty Images)

Soft Supports

Depending on the extent of the injury, a soft support may be enough to protect your fractured finger during play, if cleared by your doctor. These supports may include elastic compression bandages or athletic tape. The number of layers of these supports may be restricted by your association. In some cases, you may be able to wear an aluminum splint if it fits within your glove. Buddy taping the injured finger to the one next to it provides extra support. However, your fingers typically must be separated while playing football, leaving your finger vulnerable to further injury.

Hard Supports

More commonly, finger fractures require hard support to keep your finger immobile as it heals. These splints or casts may be allowed while playing football, but they typically have to be covered by softer material. Soft closed-cell foam may be used to pad the outside of the splint, often with a minimum thickness of 1/2 inch or more. This will protect your finger. However, it may interfere with your performance.

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