Finger Fracture (Broken Finger)

A broken finger is a painful condition where the finger bones (phalanges) suffer a fracture due to a direct injury. Finger fractures can make it difficult to do simple daily tasks and activities.

What You Need To Know About A Finger Fracture

What Is A Finger Fracture (Broken Finger)?

A finger fracture, or broken finger, is a break of one or more finger bones. These bones are called "phalanges", and an individual bone is called a "phalanx". There are three phalanges in each finger and two in the thumb.

When functioning normally, the phalanges in your finger allow for important specialized motions, like grasping or manipulating objects. But a finger fracture can be very painful and interrupt many daily activities. A broken finger can also affect the surrounding parts of your hand and cause stiffness and pain.

It may be difficult to know for sure whether you simply jammed your finger or whether you have a fractured finger. Learn about broken finger symptoms, cause, and treatment below. Schedule an appointment with the experts from the Resurgens Hand and Wrist center.

What Causes a Broken Finger?

A fractured finger usually happens as a result of a direct blow to the hand. Since the hands are frequently used, they are at higher risk of being injured. A broken finger might occur when breaking a fall, catching objects, or jamming your finger in a door. In fact, hand injuries are also one of the most common workplace injuries in the US.

There are two different types of finger fractures. The first type of broken finger is one where the bones fracture but remain in a stable position. The second type of fracture is displaced or unstable, which means the finger bones shifted out of their normal position. A displaced broken finger can be very painful and will require more advanced treatment.

You may be more at risk for fractures of the finger if your occupation requires you to use power tools. If you play sports or live an active lifestyle, your risk of finger fractures may be higher. Health conditions like osteoporosis or malnutrition can also increase the risk of a broken finger.

Symptoms of a Broken Finger

When you've injured your finger, it may be difficult for you to tell whether you've simply jammed your finger, or whether you have a fracture.

Here are some signs of a broken finger to watch out for:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Tenderness

  • Numbness

  • Limited range of motion

  • Finger bent out of its normal position

Broken finger symptoms may vary in severity depending on the case. With a more stable fracture of the finger, you may still be able to move it with some dull pain. A displaced fracture is more painful and is harder to move.

You may also get a fingertip (distal phalanx) fracture. Symptoms of a distal phalanx are swelling and bruising of the finger pad, as well as purplish blood beneath the fingernail.

If you think you may have broken finger symptoms, schedule an appointment with an expert at the Resurgens Hand and Wrist Center today.

How is a Finger Fracture Diagnosed?

To diagnose a finger fracture, your doctor will begin by talking to you about your medical history and doing a physical exam of your finger. You may experience some pain during the physical exam as your doctor checks range of motion and assesses the problem areas.

They will also order x-rays to determine whether you have a broken finger. If you have a more complex case, like a displaced finger fracture, your doctor will likely consult with a Resurgens hand surgeon.

Treatment for a Finger Fracture (Broken Finger)

No two finger fractures are the same, and broken finger treatment will vary depending on the severity of your case. There are both non-surgical and surgical options for treating a broken finger, and the majority of finger fractures can be treated without surgery. Your doctor will talk to you about your treatment options and outline a plan to fit your needs.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Most finger fractures can be treated with non-surgical methods. Your doctor may recommend a splint or cast to immobilize the finger and make sure it heals in the right position. They may splint the fingers adjacent to the fracture for extra stability during healing. You may wear a finger splint for about 3 weeks, and your doctor will have you come in regularly to take x-rays and monitor your progress.

Surgical Treatment

For more severe fracture, surgery may be needed to put the displaced finger bones into alignment. Surgery may be required if there are:

  • Multiple fractures of the fingers

  • Fragmented bones

  • Joint injuries

  • Ligament or tendon damage

  • Displaced fractures

  • Impaction fractures

A Resurgens hand surgeon will be able to determine what procedure will be necessary for a complex fracture. They may use pins, screws, or wires to bring the finger back into position. With proper surgical treatment and rehabilitation, patients are able to restore hand function and strength.

Depending on the intensity of the injury and surgery, a broken finger may recover in a few weeks or as long as a year. If there are other associated injuries to the nerves or muscle, this may also increase recovery time.

If you're struggling with pain due to a broken finger, schedule an appointment with a physician for the Resurgens Hand and Wrist Center. We are ready to help craft a treatment plan specifically for your needs.

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