John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
After reduction, immobilization, and four to six weeks of healing, the prognosis for
healing is excellent for a broken finger.
Joint stiffness is the most common problem encountered after treatment of
fractures in the fingers due to scar tissue formation and the long
immobilization period. Physical therapy may be prescribed (preferably by a hand
therapist) to regain range of motion.
Rotation can occur when one of the bones in the finger rotates abnormally
during the healing process. This can cause deformity and decreased ability to
use the injured finger when grasping.
Nonunion is a complication of some fractures when the two ends of the bone do
not heal together properly, leaving the fractured area unstable.
If the skin is injured or if surgery is necessary to fix
the fractured bone, infection may result.
How can a broken finger be prevented?
The best medicine for prevention of finger fractures is
safety. Most fingers are broken from machines or sporting injuries. Always use
safety equipment when doing activities that may injure the hands. Despite all efforts and
precautions, injuries do occur and should be evaluated as soon possible.
Broken Finger At A Glance
Finger fractures may account for up to 10% of all fractures.
The finger bones are named according to their relationship to the palm of
the hand. The first bone, closest to the palm, is the proximal phalange. The
second bone is the middle phalange. The smallest and farthest from the hand is
the distal phalange. The thumb does not have a middle phalange.
Traumatic injury is the main cause of broken fingers, and it occurs from
playing sports, workplace, falls, or in other accidents.
The main symptoms of a broken finger are pain immediately after the trauma,
and sometimes a deformed finger. If the trauma is severe, broken bones may be
exposed (called a compound fracture).
If pain or swelling limits the motion or use of the fingers, if the finger
becomes numb, or if the injury includes a laceration, crushed tissue, or
exposure of bone, seek medical care.
The mainstay of diagnosing finger fractures is an X-ray.
Treatment of broken fingers depends on the type of fracture and the
particular bone in the finger that is injured.
Complications of a broken finger can include join stiffness, rotation,
nonunion, and infection.
After reduction, immobilization, and four to six weeks of healing, the prognosis
for healing is excellent for a broken finger.
The best medicine for prevention of finger fractures is safety. Always use
safety equipment when doing activities that may injure the hands.
De Jonge JJ, Kingma J, van der Lei B, Klasen HJ. Phalangeal fractures of the hand. An analysis of gender and age-related incidence and aetiology. J Hand Surg [Br]. Apr 1994;19(2):168-70.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; "Hand Fractures."