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Collateral Ligament Injuries

Injuries of the collateral ligaments (the side ligaments of the PIP joints) are quite common in athletics. They often occur in sports such as team handball, volleyball, basketball, and rugby.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Pain and distinct tenderness occur in the injured area at the side of the joint.
– Mobility is impaired.
– Instability (increased side-to-side movement of the joint) can be present if the tear is complete.


Collateral ligament injuries can be treated by bandaging or taping the injured finger to an adjacent finger for support (‘buddy taping’). Active motion exercises of the injured finger can then start without any side-toside loading. The bandage is worn for about 2 weeks for minor injuries and longer for complete tears. Buddy taping should be used during athletic competition for several months. As a rule, surgery is not needed except for injuries to the ligaments of the thumb.


– Residual effects with slight swelling and stiffness of the injured finger can continue for a long time (6–9 months) after the injury has occurred.
– Protected early return to sport is usually possible.

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