Riding with finger injury?

Looking for other peoples experiences.

I dislocated the middle joint of my left ring finger last Friday. It looked gruesome pointing the wrong way, but I popped it back in and iced it. I’ve had a splint on it since. It’s feeling better fast. But… I would actually like for this injury to HEAL instead of just becoming another messed up joint on a body full of messed up joints. I also am eager to get my horses back to work.

Has anyone ridden with a finger brace? Is there a good way to do it? Am I better off folding the finger up and taping it, or keeping it straight? The internet puts healing time in the #of months category. Not using my left hand for that long is unrealistic, but I’m willing to go to some trouble to protect the injury while I get on with my life.

What have you folks done with this kind of lameness?

Not exactly the same injury, but managed to injure the tendon on the middle finger of my right hand earlier this summer (look up mallet finger if you’re curious). And yes, I have been riding with a splint of sorts. For my particular injury, the main concern is that the upper finger joint remain straight, so I have been using two popsicle sticks cut to the appropriate length to brace that joint straight, and tightly wrapping with elastic wrap in a figure eight pattern to hold it stable. Since it’s summer and everything gets sweaty, I wrap that with waterproof tape to keep it secure while riding. This has generally worked well, and I’ve been doing everything including jumping with this set up.

*Note that this particularly works because I have an awesome horse I’ve been riding for 13+ years who is sane and does not pull or want strong contact - I have limited ability to hold contact on the bad rein, and would not want to ride a horse that pulled or spooked this way. Since I can’t hold even contact I have been keeping dressage schooling minimal to try to avoid bad habits. We’ve been focusing on strength and fitness instead, so lots of hacking on hills, cavaletti, lateral work at the walk, grid work, etc.

In general, with fingers I recommend taping them to their neighbor(s).

I get that we’re generally a “tape it up and make it work” kind of bunch, but if healing this injury in the right way is important to you, perhaps you should get it checked out by a doctor, and see what they recommend? These things often have a pretty narrow window to correct before they heal “wrong”…


Yes - should add that I did see a doctor and he okayed me riding as long as I kept that one joint straight. Outside of riding, it has also been splinted 24/7 in the splint provided by the doctor for 6 weeks - 4 more to go!

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I do have a Dr appointment tomorrow morning. Just happened to have scheduled a checkup a month back, so lucky timing! I’ll ask there, but I think it’s hard for civilians to appreciate how a ring finger works when riding or doing chores. So if I have some idea of what has worked for other folks I’ll be able to ask about potential solutions, and not just get a 2 month sentence of cleaning stalls with one hand.

I have, for different injuries (neither a dislocation or otherwise anything i was worried about healing poorly), ridden with my middle instead of ring finger, and ridden with one hand.

I would not fold the finger as that sounds painful and counterproductive. If it is your ring finger, splint to your pinkie and ride with the middle finger. A clinician i rode with at the time also suggested, as an exercise, to flip the rein hold upside down like a driving rein. I do not recall how that worked out, so i guess i did not learn much from the exercise…riding one handed is always illuminating in terms of revealing asymmetry though. Or get a buddy to lunge you and go w/o reins!

I have never used a finger brace but can recommend adding a hand/wrist brace for chores as that will have some effect in limiting how much your fingers bend, which will automatically add some protection from reinjury and overuse as you are healing.

Disclaimer: not a doctor.

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I’ve also ridden holding a driving rein when rehabbing a hand injury (nothing like a dislocation, but being jammed/twisted/slammed in truck door/etc). I found my ring finger was happier being taped and splinted to my middle finger over my pinky finger to hold a driving rein. Keeping my pinky straight to support my ring finger left my hand too “open” to my liking.


When one of my clients cut a tendon on a finger, she had to ride with a splint to keep her finger at the correct bend. She learned how to neck rein while it healed. A good skill for her horse and her.


This is what I have done when riding or doing chores etc… Then just cut it loose for normal life.

Glad you’re seeing the doctor. I thought I had just dislocated the knuckle of my right ring finger, but it turned out I had actually broken and dislocated it. I wound up in a cast, then pinned. This was on March 3 and I’m still doing PT. I sincerely hope your finger is just dislocated.

Jingles for a fast recovery!

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Good luck, I broke my index and middle fingers on my right hand between the 2nd and 3rd joints (the one closest to the hand) and wound up with a cast up to my elbow and my fingers taped 90 degrees to my hand. Bonus was I was in the Navy & spent 2 weeks underway like this. Only good thing was I didn’t have to cook. There was no way I could have ridden like this.

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I fractured my ring finger (right at the DIP joint) on my right hand when I was in my twenties and was given a basic splint and told not to move it much for 6 weeks. Since I was in my 20s and feeling indestructible, I was back in the saddle the next day.

It is HARD not moving your ring finger, for me at least, it’s almost impossible to isolate ring finger movement from middle finger movement. Using a gear shift, holding a pencil, gripping reins - the ring finger wants to bend when the middle one does. I wore the splint but kept riding. I think even with the splint, the finger’s constant ‘attempts’ to bend with its fellows did some damage. By the end of 6 weeks, the bone had set but the finger was slightly crooked, and that knuckle is noticeably bigger than any others. It doesn’t give me much trouble with arthritis yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does eventually.

You might not have as much of an issue since it was just dislocated, not broken, but if it’s important to you that this heals with as little complication as possible, I’d recommend at least giving it a week or 2 with minimal movement just to get the healing off to a solid start.

I was amazed at how much you use your ring finger. It’s supposedly your weakest finger, but man! When it’s out of action, you miss it a lot.