Jammed fingers are the worst. I know that for a fact now.
Last Tuesday I sparred with some fingerless bag gloves so I could have more dexterity with my hands. I feel the most comfortable with using my hands in sparring and have relaxed my guard somewhat so that my hands are generally open and not in a fist when I'm guarding. When I strike and defend, I close my hands. I found the downside of this open hand guard very quickly. I reflexively reached down with my left hand to block a roundhouse kick, but did not close my hand all the way in time. A jolt of intense pain shot through my little finger and ring finger. Mr. M called break while I walked around shaking my hand out and trying to will the pain away. I had to have help taking my glove off because these gloves are very tight fitting and I could feel my fingers starting to swell. Mr. M and I looked at my fingers. My ring finger wasn't hurting much, but my pinky finger was more than making up for it. I was able to bend my fingers them and make a proper fist, so I decided to keep sparring -- but only after switching to my nice foam gloves.
I followed Mr. M's advice and iced my fingers when I got home. The next morning, both fingers were swollen and solid purple on the palm side. I continued to ice them for as long as I could stand it, then buddy taped the fingers together.
Today marks one week since I jammed them. The swelling and the bruising finally went away, but I'm still having to tape them at night and some during the day. I'm just now able to type well with my little finger. I hoped that there wouldn't be any issues with my ability to do Tae Kwon D tonight. I taped them up and they were fine -- even while doing break falls, shoulder rolls, and sparring. I was worried during sparring because I couldn't pull my fingers in all the way for a tight fist. I didn't want to go through that pain again right as they were starting to get better, so I protected that hand as much as I could.
I didn't realize until after I jammed them that I rely on my fingers for a lot of things. From playing guitar and making a proper fist to doing everyday activities like getting dressed, typing, and gripping things. I'm going to appreciate being able to do the minute things so much more once they heal.
What was the lesson learned through all of this? If you spar with open hands and/or fingerless gloves, be aware of the consequences. Duly noted.