Ligaments in the Finger

By Terri Ahern, OT, CHT

Ligaments in the Finger

Understanding the basic anatomy of the hand is useful in understanding different types of injuries that can occur. The finger has ligaments, tendons, and 3 phalanges bones.

The thumb has 2 phalange bones.  There are no muscles in the fingers, only tendons, and ligaments. Fingers move by pulling the forearm and/or intrinsic hand muscles via a tendon.

image of fingers typing on laptop keyboard

Ligaments in the finger injuries are common


Bones of the Hand and Fingers

image of bones of the hand

anatomy of the hand

The 3 bones in the finger have namesby their location to the palm. From closest to farthest (proximal, middle, and distal phalange). Each finger has multiple ligaments which are strong connective tissue bands that connect bone to bone. Ligaments in the finger provide stability as the finger moves.

Injury to ligaments in the finger can cause long-term complications if not addressed promptly.  Ligaments in the finger keep the finger in proper alignment. Physicians and therapists will evaluate the stability of the finger by assessing if the finger. Excessive mobility to one side or the other can indicate that the ligament has been stretched or torn.

Ligaments in the Finger

image of muscles and ligaments of the hand

Muscles in the Hand

There are 2 Collateral Ligaments one on each side of each joint in the finger to provide stability. Joint instability can limit finger range of motion (ROM) to perform full flexion by making a tight fist or full extension to lay hand flat on the table.  The Annular Ligaments of the hand and finger are referred to as pulley’s which form tunnels on the palm side of the hand and into the finger for the tendons to pass through. Injury to a pulley can cause a bowstring of the tendon and limited smooth motion.

Digital Cutaneous Ligaments tether the skin to the bone to prevent increased movement of the skin when gripping. The Central Slip and Lateral Bands are ligaments that are components of the Expansion Hood on the dorsum/back of the finger which help extend fingers. Injury to the Central slip can prevent a person from fully straightening the finger.

Ligaments in the Finger- Common Injuries

image of hands with Dupuytrens contracture

Dupuytrens contracture is an orthopedic condition seen by an MD.

The most common ligament injury of the finger is to the middle joint. It referred to as proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP joint). People will refer to this injury as “jamming my finger”. A common injury to the middle joint is to the Volar Plate which is a sturdy band of connective tissue that prevents hyperextension of the finger. The Volar Plate can be partial or fully torn due to backward force.

The most common ligament injury of the thumb is to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament which provides stability during grasp and pinch.  This occurs when falling on an outstretched thumb away from the hand. The injury is also known as the gamekeeper’s thumb from repetitive motion/overuse.

Hand Doctors in Jacksonville

Seek medical attention anytime a finger injury has extreme pain, alignment issue, dislocation. If symptoms do not improve within 24-48 hours, see medical attention. Buddy taping two fingers together for stability or finger splint can promote the healing of ligaments by reducing the stress to the ligaments. X-rays may be necessary to check for fractures.

A partially torn ligament in the finger is may take 6 to heal. A completely torn ligament may require surgery. An untreated ligament injury can lead to instability of a joint.  Finger deformities such as Bountoniere Deformity or Swan Neck Deformity can occur.

If you feel you may be suffering from these conditions, our dedicated team of orthopedic specialists is ready to help you! To schedule an appointment call 904-JOI-2000 or click the button below to schedule an appointment online.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician.

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By: Terri Ahern, OT, CHT

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