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MCP Joint Injuries

Collateral ligament injuries

Collateral ligament injuries are occasionally seen in the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints (the joint between the palm of the hand and the fingers). The mechanism of injury is side-to-side force placed on a bent MCP joint.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Pain and distinct tenderness occur in the injured area at the side of the joint in the web space.
– Mobility is impaired.
– Instability (increased side movement of the joint) can be present if the tear is complete. In the MCP joint, this is tested with the joint flexed.


– Splinting and/or taping to the finger beside it (buddy taping) are usually sufficient treatment. Active motion exercises without any side-to-side load can begin immediately. 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.
– X-rays should be taken to be sure no bone fragments are lodged in the joint.
– Pain can persist for up to a year following the injury.
– Protected early return to sport is usually possible.

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