What is a Finger Fracture?

A broken or fractured finger can occur when any of the phalanges (the bones in the fingers) break. This is usually brought by a hand injury, which can be a result of a fall, slamming the fingers in a door, or carelessness in using tools like drills and power saws.

Symptoms of a Finger Fracture

Pain, swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion are the most common symptoms of a finger fracture. There can also be deformity of the injured finger and bruising at the fractured site.

Diagnosing a Finger Fracture

A fractured finger requires medical attention.

To diagnose a broken finger, the doctor has to review one’s medical history which includes reviewing the nature of injury. He/she will also do a physical exam on the injured site.

During the physical exam, the doctor may ask the patient to extend the hand or make a fist. This is to see if the injured finger angles in the wrong direction or appears too short.

Usually after the physical exam, the doctor orders additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. This includes x-rays of both hands for comparing the uninjured and injured sites.

How It Is Treated

There are nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for a broken finger.

Nonsurgical Treatment

A broken bone can be put back in place without surgery. This is by using a splint or cast to protect it and keep it straight while it’s healing. In some cases, the doctor may splint the fingers next to the fractured site for added support.

The splint is usually worn for about 3 weeks. X-rays of the injured site are done on a regular basis to monitor its healing.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is recommended for severe cases of finger fracture. That is, a broken finger that can’t be put back in place with splint or cast alone.

Surgery for a finger fracture usually involves the use of small devices such as pins, wires, or screws for holding the fractured bones together.