What Is A Fractured Finger?

A fracture or broken finger is when the bones of the finger break. A fractured finger occurs as a result of an injury or fragile bones. An x-ray and physical examination help in diagnosing the injury as there are different types of fractured fingers. Treatment depends on the severity and type of the fracture.

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Signs of a broken finger

When one experiences a broken finger, the signs and symptoms appear abruptly. The signs include pain, decreased range of movement, swelling, and redness. Other signs and symptoms include stiffness, bruising, numbness, and inability to bend the finger. One can still move the finger with a broken finger but may experience dull pain upon movement. When there is a significant amount of swelling, there is nerve compression which results in numbness of the finger.

Treatment options

The treatment includes conservative and surgery options but the chosen treatment depends on the severity and location of the fracture. In a stable fracture, a splint is applied. An unstable fracture requires aligning the fracture fragments then applying a splint which is usually done under local anesthesia.

The following situations require surgery:

  • Joint, tendon, or ligament injury
  • Loose bone fragments
  • Multiple fractures
  • Unstable fractures with unsupportive splints

Other conservative treatments include applying ice but not directly and taking pain medications.

Common types of finger fractures

A fractured finger can occur any time, either at work, home, or during sports activity. A finger fracture is prevalent during many sports activities. Some common types include mallet fractures, tuft fractures, middle and proximal phalanx fractures, and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) avulsion fractures.

Prevent injuries when possible

Although not always, sometimes one can reduce the risk of getting an injured finger. Some ways include practicing safety and using proper sports equipment and devices. A healthy diet and regular health check-ups are advised for patients with bone weakness and prone to bone loss. An example is an osteoporosis condition where regular tests and check-ups are recommended to avoid experiencing a fractured finger.

What to expect during recovery

The prognosis after healing a broken finger depends on the severity and the patient’s overall well-being. The healing time can take 4-6 weeks, or even a year depending on the case. A common issue patients experience after treatment is joint stiffness. Usually, a healthcare provider would advise physical therapy and exercises to solve the stiffness and any swelling. The doctor would also advise when the patient can resume using the finger.

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