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Definition

What is a broken finger?

The bones in your fingers are called phalanges. Each finger has three phalanges, except the thumb, which has two phalanges. A broken, or fractured, finger occurs when one or more of these bones breaks. A break is usually the result of an injury to the hand. A fracture can occur in any of the phalanges. Fractures can also occur in your knuckles, which are the joints where your finger bones meet.

How common is broken finger?

Broken fingers are common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of broken finger?

The common symptoms of broken finger are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Limited range of motion

Your finger might also look misshapen or out of alignment (deformed). Broken fingers may be very painful, especially when you try to move them, but sometimes the discomfort is dull and tolerable. The absence of extreme pain doesn’t mean that the fracture doesn’t require medical attention.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes broken finger?

Fingers have the highest risk of injury of all the parts of the hand. You can injure your finger while working with a tool, such as a hammer or a saw. Your finger can break when a fast-moving object hits your hand, such as a baseball. Slamming your hand in a door and putting your hands out to break a fall can also cause you to break your finger.

The nature of the injury and the strength of the bone determine whether a fracture occurs. Conditions such as osteoporosis and malnutrition increase your chances of breaking a finger.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for broken finger?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is broken finger diagnosed?

Diagnosis of finger fracture begins with your doctor taking your medical history and doing a physical examination. X-rays of the finger will usually indicate whether your finger is fractured.

How is broken finger treated?

Treatment for a broken finger depends on the location of the fracture and whether it’s stable. Taping the fractured finger to an adjacent intact finger may treat a stable fracture. Unstable fractures require immobilization. After your doctor aligns the fracture, or reduces it, they can apply a splint.

If your fracture is unstable or displaced, your doctor may need to perform surgery. Surgery stabilizes the fracture when you have:

  • Multiple fractures
  • Loose bone fragments
  • A joint injury
  • Damage to the ligaments or tendons
  • Unstable, displaced, or open fractures
  • An impaction fracture

An orthopedic surgeon or hand surgeon will determine the best treatment approach for a complicated fracture. Pins, screws, and wires are useful in surgical procedures for broken fingers. Proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of broken fingers help to preserve hand function and strength and prevent deformities.

The recovery time for a broken finger maybe as short as a few weeks or up to a year, depending upon multiple factors. The prognosis also depends on various factors, such as if there is an associated nerve injury or vascular injury, or if there’s an injury to the joint surface causing arthritis.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage broken finger?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with broken finger:

  • Try to avoid using the affected hand and disturbing the splint
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve any discomfort
  • Raise the affected hand above the level of your heart when you can to help reduce swelling – try resting it on a cushion while sitting and sleeping
  • Hold an ice pack, or something like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth, against the finger for about 10 minutes, three or four times a day – this can also help reduce any swelling

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: October 19, 2017 | Last Modified: October 19, 2017

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