Jersey Finger

The flexor tendon is responsible for pulling the finger into the palm as the flexor muscles in the forearm are contracted. However, in the case of a jersey finger, the tendon snaps, so it can no longer perform its function. Individuals with jersey finger cannot bend the finger into a fist. Instead, it remains straight. Most cases of jersey finger occur in a contact sport—like football—when Player A grasps Player B’s jersey to make a tackle, but Player B wrenches away, tearing the flexor tendon in one of Player A’s fingers. Although this type of injury can occur in other contexts, it is less common. Jersey finger can be accompanied by some pain and swelling—although it is typically mild. The only course of treatment to re-attach the tendon is surgery, and the best results occur when the procedure is performed within ten days of the injury. Surgery typically involves locating the snapped tendon, putting it back in its proper position, and reattaching the tendon to the fingertip. Physical therapy with a hand specialist will begin immediately following surgery to restore finger movement and minimize the risk of stiffness. Most athletes are unable to return to their sport for four to six months following a jersey finger injury.