About fractured fingers

Written by john lindell
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About fractured fingers
A hand x-ray will pinpoint the position of the finger fracture. (Bunyos/iStock/Getty Images)

Any breaks that occur in a bone in a finger are considered finger fractures. Fingers most commonly break from falls and sports injuries. Fractured fingers are treated most of the time by splinting them to another finger, or by immobilising them until the bone can heal correctly.

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Causes

A direct hit to a fingertip during a sporting event such as a cricket ball, basketball or football is a very common cause of a fractured finger. Another cause is termed a crush injury, such as slamming a finger in a car door or having a heavy object fall on the finger. Fingers that are twisted or bent back or forwards are also liable to fracture. When someone slips or trips and throws out their hands to break their fall they can fracture a finger as well.

Fingertip fractures

Fingertip breaks are the most frequently seen type of finger fracture. The fingertip will feel painful and be bruised and swollen from a fracture. The fingernail may very well be torn away and blood collects underneath an intact nail. The skin can be scraped or torn and the fingertip may have a numb sensation or no sensation at all. The joint nearest the fracture may become swollen and difficult to bend. The finger may also look as if it is crooked.

Fracture types

When the middle of the three bones of a finger is fractured, the symptoms other than pain will be bruising in the area followed by difficulty straightening the finger or bending it. Numbness of the entire area can be possible and it will more than likely be swollen. Finger injuries such as this can come from severely jamming the finger or taking a direct hit to it from an object. Fractures to the finger that happen close to the hand have the same pain and swelling symptoms as other fractures. However, the swelling may extend into the palm of the hand, resulting in a visible lump.

Treatment

When a person suffers a fractured finger, he can put ice on it and then elevate the finger until it can be evaluated. A coctor will put the finger back into its original place and then either put a cast on the hand up to the finger or splint it to keep it immobilised. But before this can be done, x-rays will more than likely be taken to determine the severity of the fracture and identify any complications. If a finger is severely injured and breaks through the skin, then surgery may be needed to repair the finger, followed by stitches to the region and antibiotics to make sure that no infection sets in.

Therapy

Fractured fingers take an average of four to six weeks to heal properly, but a doctor will usually want to see a patient with a fracture a week after it has been set to make sure it is healing well. Joint stiffness is not uncommon in a finger that has been fractured as scar tissue can form. Some individuals will have to undergo physiotherapy involving range-of-motion exercises to reduce stiffness and improve the mobility of the digit.

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