What Are Finger Fractures?

Fourteen finger bones (phalanges) provide the framework for the muscles and tendons that make the hand and fingers move and allow us to grip, grab, and manipulate objects. When one or more of the bones are broken (fractured), it can prevent use of the hand and fingers in a normal manner. Many people think that a fracture is different from a break, but they are the same. Another misconception is the thought that “it can’t be broken because I can move it”.

Typical symptoms of finger fractures may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Deformity
To alleviate symptoms, the fracture must be treated appropriately.

How are Finger Fractures Diagnosed?

Early diagnosis is important in the successful treatment of finger fractures. Clinical evaluation and X-rays are used to diagnose fractures. In some cases, advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans may be used.

How Are Finger Fractures Treated?

As each finger fracture can be different, treatment is catered to each injury.  Fortunately, most fractures may be treated without surgery. Nonsurgical treatment of stable finger fractures involves the use of a brace or splint to immobilize the bone while it heals. Surgical treatment may be needed for fractures that are displaced or unstable. The goal of surgery is to align and hold the bone in place while it heals.  This is accomplished using a combination of small pins, screws, plates, or wires.