Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Football Injuries

What are Football Injuries?

Football is a popular sport played by young athletes, leading in number of reported injuries compared to other sports. Hand, finger, and wrist injuries include fractures, dislocations, and sprains are the most common hand injuries.

Hand injuries can result from a fall that forces the hand or fingers backward or direct trauma.

Types of Football Injuries

Because football is a high-contact and vigorous sport, there are many opportunities for an athlete to injure themselves. The force applied when bringing opponents to the ground or resisting being brought to the ground make players prone to injury anywhere on their person.

Some of the most common football-related injuries to the hand include:

  • Bennett’s fracture: fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone.
  • Boutonniere deformity: deformed position of the fingers or toes.
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome: pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve .
  • De Quervain’s tendinitis: chronic overuse of your wrist is commonly.
  • Distal radius fracture: fracture of the lunate fossa of the articular surface of the distal radius.
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis: inflammation of the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon.
  • Interphalangeal joint dislocation: joint dislocations of the fingers and toes.
  • Mallet finger: deformity of the finger caused when the extensor tendon is damaged.
  • Medial epicondylitis: tendinitis that affects the inside of the elbow.
  • Metacarpophalangeal joint dislocation: dislocation of the metacarpophalangeal joint.
  • Perilunate dislocation: complex injuries to the small bones of the wrist.
  • Phalangeal fracture: finger fractures/dislocations.
  • Pisiform fracture: fracture of the pisiform occurred because of direct trauma.
  • Pitcher’s elbow: pain and swelling inside of the elbow.
  • Pseudo-Boutonniere deformity: deformity resulting from a hyperextension injury to the proximal interphalangeal joint.
  • Sagittal band and extensor aponeurosis injuries: traumatic extensor tendon dislocation.
  • Scaphoid fracture: break of the scaphoid bone in the wrist.
  • Scapholunate injuries: diastasis of the scapholunate complex.
  • Triangular fibrocartilage tear: injury to the cartilage structure located on the small finger side of the wrist.
  • Ulna stress fracture: caused due to excessive push ups in a young athlete.
  • Ulnar carpal instability: ulnar deviation, axial compression, and pronation of the wrist.
  • Volar lunate dislocation: the fourth and last stage of perilunate dislocation.
  • Volar plate avulsion: injury associated with an avulsion fracture.
  • Wrist ligament injury: occurs when the strong ligaments that support the wrist stretch or tear.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Football Injuries

Injuries occur during football due to a combination of high speed and full contact during gameplay. While overuse injuries can occur, injuries resulting from acute trauma are more common.

Some of the most common presentations of football injuries to the hand include:

  • Severe pain
  • Severe swelling
  • Numbness
  • Abnormal twisting or bending of the finger or hand
  • A clicking, grating, or shifting noise while operating hand complexes

Causes of Football Injuries

Most sports involve close contact with other players, as well as sports equipment, increasing the chance of accidental collision or impact.

Even for those who do not play high-risk sports, there is the risk of chronic (overuse) injuries from repeating the same motions, either during practice or while playing.

Treatment Options

Surgery is needed for some injuries, such as ligament tears and fractures. However, medication, “buddy-taping,” splints, braces, casts, or physical therapy may be used as a treatment option.

Treatment options vary depending on the extent and location of the injury. Your hand surgeon must assess damage, deformities, and stiffness to create a treatment plan best suited to your injuries.

Muscle strains and sprains that are not severe are generally treated with rest, and compression, while ligament tear generally requires a doctor’s visit. In most cases, X-rays will be taken, and casting will be done. In some cases, surgery may be required, depending on the location and extent of the tear.

In the event of joint dislocation, the doctor will reset the joint. It may require an X-ray evaluation or even surgery. In some cases, you may be able to use buddy tape or a splint, depending on the location. Tendonitis is usually treated with rest, ice, and by limiting repetitive movement. You may also be given some over the counter pain medication to help relax your muscles, and allow them to heal. Stress fractures, commonly caused by repetitive motion, are generally treated with rest.

Depending on the extent of the injury, you may be required to refrain from sports until it has completely healed.

Preventing Football Injuries

Though sometimes, accidents cannot be avoided, there are a few things that athletes, teammates, and coaches can do to help reduce the risk of football injuries. These methods include:

  • Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines.
  • Incorporate strength training and stretching.
  • Stay active during summer break to prepare for return to sports in the fall.
  • Wear properly fitted protective equipment.
  • Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet.

If You Believe You Have a Football Injury, Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People who have been hurt while playing football should be evaluated to try and reduce the risk of further injury and mobility issues.


If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Dr. Mark Pruzansky and Dr. Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.