Explanation: Each joint of the finger has collateral ligaments that stop our fingers from moving too far side to side. These ligaments provide sensory feedback for our joints therefore, when injured can be painful for a prolonged time.
Mechanism of injury: Collateral ligaments are typically torn from a force causing the finger to pull to one side. The ligament that is injured is dependent on the position of the finger when the movement occurs.
Examination: The most comprehensive way to diagnose a collateral ligament tear is through imaging such as an MRI/ ultrasound to determine any fractures or soft tissue damage. Hand therapists will also complete assessments to test for pain and laxity when ligaments are usually taut, which will be reassessed throughout the healing process. There are various degrees of ligament tears which determines treatment.
Treatment: Treatment of a collateral ligament tear is dependant on the time since injury and level of injury to the ligament. When appropriate, hand therapists work towards increasing range of motion of the impacted joint, strengthening and functional retraining.