You know it when it happens: the extended dive for a ball or the misplaced blow of a hardware tool followed by the extreme pain and woefully crooked finger heralding a dislocated finger joint. Dislocating your finger can be as painful as it is inconvenient. It is crucial to seek prompt medical treatment for a misaligned joint. Rehabilitation is critical to recovery as it promotes range of motion, strength and coordination. The Sports Science Orthopaedic Clinic of Cape Town, South Africa treats many members of national sports teams and recommends certain exercises for dislocated fingers to expedite recovery.
The Flat Palm Exercise
Stand over a table or against a wall with your palm facing downward and your fingers spread. Press your hand against the flat surface and hold for five seconds. Repeat ten times for a single set and aim for three sets a day. Do not press your palm so hard that you're in extreme pain--you should feel discomfort, but not agony.
The Fist Exercise
Curl your fingers into the palm of your hand to make a fist. If your dislocated finger cannot follow, physically position it into the fist form using your uninjured hand. Continue holding the fist position for five seconds and repeat ten times for a single set. Aim for three sets a day.
The Ball Squeeze Exercise
Wrap your fingers around the sides of a tennis ball as you would hold a baseball. Squeeze the ball with your hand and fingers as hard as you can for five seconds, then gently relax your hand. Repeat ten times for a single set and work toward three sets a day. This will be painful at first, so you should wait until your doctor gives you approval before attempting it. As you begin to heal, the pain of squeezing the ball will subside and your finger will become more mobile.
Tips and Reminders
As with any rehabilitation program, it is better to be slow and consistent than to risk re-injury by overexertion. Don't attempt to cram all of your exercises into a single thirty-minute period each day. Instead, try doing them whenever you have a free moment to ensure proper rest between exercises. Remember to see your doctor if your pain increases or if you begin experiencing other problems related to your hand or range of motion.
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