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Finger Fracture

A finger fracture is a break in any of the bones in a finger. Each finger consists of three bones called the phalanges. The thumb has only two phalanges.

Finger Fracture

finger fracture

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A finger fracture is caused by trauma to the finger. Trauma includes:

  • Falls
  • Blows
  • Collisions
  • Severe twists

Risk

Factors that may increase your risk of a finger fracture include:

  • Advancing age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain congenital bone conditions
  • Participation in contact sports
  • Violence

Symptoms

A finger fracture may cause:

  • Pain, often severe
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Inability to move finger without pain or difficulty
  • Possible deformity at fracture site

Diagnosis & Treatment

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, your physical activity and how the injury occurred. X-rays can determine which bones are broken and the type of fracture.

Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your finger, such as immobility or misalignment. Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture.

Initial Care

You may need extra support to protect, support and keep your finger in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include buddy taping (your injured finger is taped to healthy fingers next to it), or a splint or cast.

Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. Your doctor can put these pieces back into their proper place with or without surgery.

Medication

Prescription or over-the-counter medications can help reduce inflammation and pain. Medications may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Rest and Recovery

Healing time varies by age and your overall health. In general, it takes up to 6-8 weeks for a fractured finger to heal.

You will need to adjust your activities while your finger heals, but complete rest is rarely required. Ice and elevating the hand at rest can help with discomfort and swelling.

Your doctor may refer you to physical therapy or rehabilitation to start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. Do not return to activities or sports until your doctor gives you permission to do so.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of finger fractures, take these steps:

  • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car.
  • Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises regularly to build strong bones.
  • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.

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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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