The inability to flex the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP) of the ring finger is a result of an avulsion injury of the flexor digitorium profundus tendon at its insertion. This injury may or may not include an accompanying avulsion fracture. This is often called a “jersey finger” as the injury is often seen in football when the player grabs the pants or jersey of the opposing player. The mechanism of injury, as described by Leddy and Packer (1) is thought to be continued flexion of the little finger as it falls away while the ring finger, still caught in the pants or jersey, is forcibly extended. Often the player thinks there has been a DIP joint injury and does not realize the tendon has been avulsed and thus may seek treatment long after the injury.
(1) Leddy, J. P. and Packer, John W. Avulsion of the profundus tendon insertion in athletes. Journal of Hand Surgery 2[No.1], 66-69. 1977.
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