North East Blaze netball

Netball finger and wrist injuries

Netball is one of Australia’s most popular sports, whether at an elite level or not. When it comes to dealing with athletes, it’s important to know the difference between what can be simply strapped up and sent back on and what needs to be sent to the sidelines.


At Melbourne Hand, we love helping athletes get back to the top of their game as quickly and safely as possible. However we may not always be right there when the critical decision is pending, “to play, or not to play”. Below then, is our guide for some simple steps to providing a quick assessment of when an injury may be a simple jar, or something more serious.

In this blog, we want to cover the most common Netball injuries we see. We will break down what to look for, what should be done at the time and then what to do to follow up.

North East Blaze netball

Netball finger injuries


The ball vs finger injury is very common and has more than likely been experienced by every Netball player.


What to look for?

  • Is the finger still in place?
    Check for any obvious signs of the joints being out of alignment compared to the rest of the fingers.
  • Is there a fracture?
    Whilst X-rays are needed to confirm, assess to see if there is any immediate bruising and/or swelling. Have a firm feel along all sides of the finger. If there is a particular spot that is more tender than others, particularly around the joints, caution should be taken.
  • Is there ligament damage?
    Ligaments are the structures that hold our joints in place and are very commonly impacted with ball sports. Ligament injuries, specifically volar plate injuries also do not show up on xrays so are frequently missed. Test the volar plate by hyperextending the first joint of the finger. If the joint can be hyperextended without a firm endpoint detected at the joint, there is likely a rupture and play should cease. Likewise if the first joint can be moved out to the left or right, there is likely ligament damage and play should cease.


What should I do at the time?

  • Most of the time, if there is no evident deformity or substantial swelling, an injured finger can be taped and play can resume, however caution should be exercised. 
  • If there is evident pain, deformity or swelling, ice the finger to address swelling, apply compression and buddy tape the finger to a neighbouring finger. 


Post game management:


Melbourne Hand Rehab, Hand Therapy, Referrals, For Health Professionals, Careers


Netball wrist injuries


Falling onto an outstretched hand is a common mode of injury in many walks of life, however the risk increases in sport. However it is important to tell the difference between a wrist sprain and something more serious.


What to look for?

  • Can you move your wrist freely?
    If it is painful to move through your range of motion, there may be some internal damage that requires specialist assessment. 
  • Does the pain subside?
    If there is a fracture or ligament damage, it is likely that pain will not settle after a few moments. Catching a ball will prove difficult and the area of impact will swell. 


What should I do at the time?

  • Unlike a finger injury, the wrist is a larger, much more mobile joint, so if there is significant soreness, it is unlikely that you will be able to carry on playing. If you can feel an injury is present, cease playing. 
  • Rest and ice your wrist before applying compression. Avoid any further use of the wrist or hand.


Post game management:


Melbourne Hand rehab custom make splints and braces for sports injuries


How do we help Netball injuries at Melbourne Hand Rehab?


By getting treatment as soon as possible, you are more likely to have a more successful outcome and return to sport at the best of your ability much sooner.

We make specific splints customised to your upper limb. Having a customised, fabricated splint provides greater stability to the injury as it is perfectly fitted to you and can be remoulded as swelling reduces, to ensure there is always a perfect fit.

Sport splint, sport injuries, netball

In some cases a hand therapist may be able to fabricate a splint that can be used during games.


Once appropriate, we commence specific, targeted exercises to increase your strength and help facilitate return to sport. If appropriate, we can also create customised sports guards to enable a safe, earlier return to sport. 

Acute sports injuries should be seen as soon as possible to ensure the injury site is receiving proper attention. In the meantime, apply ice and compression before seeking treatment. X-rays and ultrasounds are helpful for therapists, however you can see a hand specialist at Melbourne Hand who can provide a thorough assessment and treatment regardless of what imaging has been completed. You do not need a referral to see our specialists at Melbourne Hand Rehab.


By Harrison Vercoe


North East Blaze Netball Club Logo

Melbourne Hand Rehab are proud sponsors of the North East Blaze Netball Club


If you are experiencing hand, wrist pain or shoulder pain don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.



For more information, call us directly on 03 9458 5166


To make it easy for you to remember how to care for your fingers and wrist whilst on the field or court, here is a First Aid for Finger Injuries card that you can download for easy reference. 

Melbourne Hand Rehab's First Aid for Finger Injuries Postcard