This tag rugby season be careful with your fingers and thumbs! This time of the year coincides with a marked increase in the number of people presenting to clinics with sprained and dislocated, wrists, thumbs and fingers. Unlike muscle injuries which we can limit the likelihood of by appropriate warm-up and stretching, finger joint injuries tend to be traumatic and are more difficult to prevent.
Here are some simple steps which we can take to reduce the likelihood of this type of injury during the tag rugby season:
Avoid wearing “old style” rugby shorts with pockets
Fingers and thumb sprains commonly occur due to catching in the rugby shorts pockets while attempting to get a tag. By not wearing such pocketed shorts, we limit the potential for causing injury to each other while playing.
Tuck in tee-shirts and jerseys
Catching of fingers and thumbs in loose jerseys or tee-shirts is another common mechanism of finger and thumb injury while reaching for a tag. Be sure to make sure yourself, team mates and your opponents are well tucked in to cut down on the likelihood of causing injury in this way
Tape previously injured fingers wrists or thumbs
Weakness to the joints and soft tissues of the hand and fingers predispose us to future injury. No matter how well previous hand, thumb and finger injuries have been rehabilitated, there remains an increased risk of traumatic re-injury when engaged in sports such as tag rugby. Taping to support these weak structures is an excellent means of ensuring a reduced likelihood of re-injury as we return to these sports.
Remember that initial management of all soft tissue injuries revolves around the R.I.C.E acronym. So should we be unfortunate enough to sustain a finger, thumb or wrist injury this tag season be sure to Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate to give you the best chance of a speedy recovery and a quick return to sport.