Finger Fractures

Fingers are fine structures of the human body that assist in daily activities through coordinated movements. The five fingers of each hand are comprised of 14 bones called phalanges. Injury to these bones can have a huge impact on your quality of life. A fracture of the finger may disrupt the alignment of the whole hand causing pain and stiffness.

What are the causes of finger fractures?

A fracture of the finger may be secondary to trauma, direct stress to the finger or any injury to the hand while breaking a fall, throwing a punch, slamming your hand in a door, stopping a fast moving object such as ball or during a motor vehicle accident. Some other common causes of finger fracture include carelessness while using power tools and during sports activities. Patients with a history of osteoporosis and malnutrition are at an increased risk of finger fracture.

What are the symptoms of finger fractures?

The common symptoms of a finger fracture include swelling, tenderness, bruising, inability to move the finger and deformity.

How are finger fractures diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a finger fracture is based on history, a physical examination and X-ray imaging to determine the type and severity of the fracture.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment options include conservative as well as surgical procedures. Non-surgical treatment includes immobilizing the fractured finger with the help of a cast or splint to help the healing process. Buddy taping can also be done, where the fractured finger is supported by splinting it to the adjoining fingers. X-rays are taken at regular intervals to assess the healing process. Surgical treatment may be required for severe fractures such as open fractures or crush injuries. Pins, screws or wires may be used for repair of the fracture and to realign the bones.

Rehabilitation is essential to avoid complications such as late arthritis. Physical therapy is recommended to prevent finger stiffness and swelling, and improve muscle strength and range of motion.

Useful Links

  • American Academy of Arthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Society For Surgery of The Hand