Finger Fracture: Diagnosis and Treatment

Finger fracture can result from a variety of injuries. There can be a delay in diagnosis as the patient may think he has a sprain of the finger. This can cause deformity, poor prognosis and a difficult treatment.

Before reading further it would be good to first see Finger Anatomy (skip if you have already done so).

Symptoms of this fracture include

  • history of injury to the hand
  • pain in the finger or hand
  • swelling
  • inability to flex or extend the finger
  • deformity of the finger

Diagnosis is by x ray of the hand including the fingers. X rays in different positions may be required to clearly demarcate the fracture because of the overlapping of fingers.

finger fracture x ray

finger fracture x ray

Such type of displaced fractures of the finger bones can only be satisfactorily treated by surgery. These fractures were stabilized by stainless steel wires.

Treatment depends on the

  • type of the fracture
    1. closed (no wound or fracture does not communicate with external environment)
    2. open (fracture does communicate with external environment)
    3. displaced (fracture fragments are far from each other)
    4. undisplaced (fracture fragments are not separate)
    5. Intra-articular (fracture involves the joint)
    6. extra-articular (fracture does not involve the joint)
  • presence of multiple fractures
  • duration of the fracture

Open fractures, intra-articular fractures, displaced fractures, multiple fractures and old fractures are more inclined to require operative treatment.

General guidelines for treatment

  • surgical incisions should be avoided as far as possible
  • immobilization of the fingers should not extend beyond 3 weeks
  • active use of the hand and fingers should be encouraged as quickly as possible
  • treatment should be directed towards restoring optimal function and not perfect anatomy (although optimal function may at times require restoration of perfect anatomy)

Frequently Asked Questions

What first aid can I do if I suspect a fractured finger?

If you suspect a fractured finger then gently wrap the adjacent normal finger with the fractured one in cotton bandage. The normal finger acts as a splint for the fractured finger.

If your finger looks even slightly deformed, don't manipulate it. You may damage other important structures.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query about finger fracture you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was last updated on 13th March 2009.

Other causes of finger joint pain...

Boutonniere Deformity

Finger Amputation

Glomus Tumor


Trigger Finger

Swan Neck Deformity

Mallet Finger

Kirner Deformity


Bowlers Thumb

Thumb Dislocation

Go back from Finger Fracture to Finger Joint Pain


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