T Nation

Training with Finger Fracture


Hi guys,

In a bit of a freak accident I have badly fractured my ring finger. Yet to have surgical consult to see if surgery is necessary but regardless will have on a splint over my middle-ring-pinky for a while. (Ring finger on dominant hand - right - is fractured). As a result won't be able to grip onto anything for some time.

I can use dumbells + machines for my left side and today tried using therabands around my carpal bones/wrist to train my injured right. Any other ideas/tips especially from those with similar experiences?

I know there is some evidence to suggest unilateral training is better than nothing in preserving the injured side but would really like to be still be able to train my right in some way to at least maintain some mass.

For lower body I have in mind one-hand deadlifts, zercher squats, smith machine squats, potentially front squats and machines (leg press, hack squat - with help locking/releasing the weight, leg extensions/curls, GHRs etc)

So it's my right upper body that I am more concerned about. Any suggestions appreciated!


ok man. i broke the exact same finger, so this will be some advice on what to do and what not to do.

in regards to training, WHAT I DID was I bought some of those hook grip things so I could still DL/pull up/whatever. The issue with these is that they bend some, and I constantly found myself slipping and hitting my finger on the bar (very painful). I still lifted like normal, with a few changes. Benched with a fat bar, used some wrist/ankle attachments to help.

The issue with all this was I was doing it pretty much immediately after I was injured. I went so far as to even DL the DAY after surgery. I really think this has messed with the way my finger healed.

I broke my finger over 3 years ago. It was a spiral fracture of the proximal phalanx. In that time I have had 3 surgeries. 1 to place pins/set bone, 1 to adjust the tendon, and another to remove the screws and adjust the tendon again. The main issue lies in the fact the finger does not have any muscle, but rather tendons that perform movements.

At any rate, the take home from this is that you need to listen to your doctor. Find a hand specialist. DO THE REHAB. As soon as you get the go ahead, make sure you work your grip (especially the extensors). Dont push it. The thing with the fingers is that once the integrity of the finger is comprimised, if you dont follow protocol, it could easily lead to complications.

For me, I cant straighten my finger out completely (about 20deg shy), and it is still swollen to about the size of my thumb. Sucks. I bought some extensor bands from Ironmind.com to hopefully help me as I had to seperate from my doctor. My grip strength is still strong as fuck tho.

If I could have done things differently, I would have taken it easy on lifting. I could go a month+ w/o lifting if I had known I might have permantenly fucked up my finger. Training when I got back to it could include fat bar pressing, squatting (find a way to grip the bar, or change bar positions/squat movement ie front, zercher). Some cable work using ankle attachments. And then single arm pull work.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions...


some studies say that you can get the unused side stronger by training the uninjured side, due to improved nuero yadda yadda....

run smolov maybe, and only squat?


Hi Nate,

Thanks for that extensive reply.

Currently I have a special splint on which is over my entire palm. I will see a hand surgeon next week and go from there. Your input has hit home though and I intend to do this as smart as possible and if I temporarily lose mass/strength, well, that has to happen.

Thanks mate.