Jersey Finger

Also known as: rugby finger, sweater finger, zone 1 flexor tendon injury, flexor tendon avulsion.

What is jersey finger?

The term jersey finger refers to an injury in which the flexor tendon tears from forceful extension of the finger while it is being flexed. The term is derived from rugby players who sometimes suffer from this injury while tackling players by the “jersey”. Other injury mechanisms are sometimes seen, including catching the finger on the edge of a basketball rim while dunking.

What causes jersey finger?

The finger is forcefully extended while the patient is flexing it.

What are the symptoms of jersey finger?

Pain, limited mobility, swelling, bruising and tenderness of the finger are all possible symptoms of jersey finger. The most important finding is the inability to actively flex the distal interphalangeal joint.

What are jersey finger care options?

Initially, elevation of the affected hand is important to minimize swelling.  A splint can be applied for comfort. Surgery is the typical treatment for jersey finger.  It must be performed soon after the injury has occurred, as the tendon will retract and scar may prevent direct repair of the tendon.

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Reviewed by: Aaron J Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/22/2018 9:42:39 AM

Chad Perlyn, MD is a pediatric plastic surgeon and Co-Director of the operating room at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

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