The hand and is made up of a collection of small bones that all link together in precise alignment to aid when performing intricate dexterous movements in day to day life. Although these bones are small, a fracture to one of them is not a minor injury and can cause permanent change if not treated correctly. The hand consists of 27 bones in total divided into separate sections known as carpals in the wrist, metacarpals in the palm of the hand and phalanges (fingers).
Symptoms of a fracture to the finger normally include:
- Immediate pain after trauma
- Swelling over the fracture site
- Tenderness around the injured area
- Bruising local to the area
- Visible deformity of the finger
- Inability to move the injured finger fully in both directions
If you think you may have suffered a broken finger you should seek medical attentions straight away because if the fracture is severe other structures may have also been damaged that could cause permanent damage to the finger/hand.
Typically, a fracture to the finger occurs due to trauma/impact injury to the hand. Generally this is the result of getting your finger trapped in doors or putting your hand out to break a fall. Due to this it can be difficult to prevent this injury from occurring other than to ensure proper safety when using equipment or participating in potentially risky sporting activities.
Treatment for a finger fracture depends on the severity of the fracture. Usually your injury can be fixed with a non-surgical approach. Typically, you will have the injured finger splinted to promote correct grown alignment as well as to protect it from further injury whilst it is healing. The splint/brace will normally be advised to be worn for around 4-6 weeks before being removed and then exercises will be prescribed to rebuild the strength within the small muscles located in the hand and re-education on dexterous movements. On rare occasions when the fracture is severe the doctor may need to relocated the bone in the hand and if there is further damage to surrounding structures you may need surgery that requires a plate or screws to promote correct healing so there is no permanent damage/change to your movement.