On Dislocated Fingers

Last Tuesday, after a night of really hard rolls, I noticed my ring finger on my left hand was a little tender. In the morning I woke up and discovered my middle knuckle was as large as a quarter. This. Sign. I know this sign. My right hand has a ring finger that won’t straighten anymore, and whose knuckle remains to this day as large as a nickel (where it was once as large as a quarter). My left ring finger must’ve gotten at least partially dislocated somewhere in one of my rolls without me noticing.

Then Thursday (I believe it was), I felt my hand get caught in someone’s gi as they were passing. As he established his position in side mount, I noticed some strange and hard-to-describe pain – something along the lines of a dull, radiating type of pain that you’d feel in your joint. I yanked my hand from where it was awkwardly caught, and took a gander. Behold! What did I see?

Dislocated Finger

My goddamn pinkie! My goddamn pinkie was bent in a way that it should not bend.

I verbally tapped.1 Then I took a big-boy breath, grabbed my pinkie with my right hand, prepared for a 10 out of 10 on the This Is Going To Fucking Hurt Scale, and pulled my dislocated digit away from my body to realign everything, then gently lowered it back in place. Let me just say, putting my finger back in place hurt a lot less than I initially imagined. And that managed to take the awkward bend out of it, as in everything appears to be in working order (albeit more than slightly beat up and exceedingly swollen right now).

For those of you who don’t know, finger rehabilitation is painful. It is really preposterously painful. After a good dislocation, the ligaments in your finger tighten and, as a result, you lose some range of motion with respect to extension and retraction. Well, to get all the degrees of extension and retraction back, you have to make your finger bend. You have to slowly, forcibly straighten your crooked finger. Then you have to slowly, forcibly retract/bend your straight finger. With the tournament on Saturday, all things being equal, I’d really like to use my fingers while grappling AND so I’m on the veritable goddamn Finger Rehab Express. In the evenings after training (since this pinkie business), my apartment has likely sounded like the innermost torture chamber of a Gestapo prison, what with all the pain I am forced to vocalize.2 My friends sit around on the couch playing video games, and I want to wail away like the black lady in “The Great Gig In The Sky” as I force my pinkie to bend.

The Abu Dhabi Pro-Trials is this Saturday. I’ve trained like a madman, and am as ready as any man can be.  I’ll be sure to tape my matches, and plan to have a write-up finished by the Wednesday after. Thanks.


1. And for those of you who know me, I NEVER verbally tap. There’s just something innately horrible about seeing one’s own body contorted in ways we know it shouldn’t.

2. I’m reading The Diary of Anne Frank right now.


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