Broken Finger

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    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.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

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What are the complications of a broken finger?

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, self-inflicted trauma (punching something), or sporting injuries. Always use safety equipment when doing activities that may injure the hands. Injuries should be evaluated as soon possible.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Hand Fractures.

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.

MedscapeReference.com. Phalangeal Fractures.

UpToDate. Overview of finger, hand and wrist fractures.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/29/2015

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