Because of the complex structure of the hand, a finger fracture is typically not a minor injury. In order for the hand to function properly, all of those small bones need to be lined up precisely. Your fingers allow you to do things we take for granted like grasping a pen or holding small objects in the palm of your hand. If your fingers are broken and not treated properly, they can adversely affect your level of dexterity and leave your hand feeling stiff and painful.
The hand is comprised of 27 different bones, with 14 of those (called phalanges) making up your fingers. Fractures of the bone that leads to the little finger account for around one-third of all adult hand fractures.
Finger fractures are typically a result of an injury to the hand, whether it be from closing a door on your fingers, using your hand to break a fall, or jamming a finger while catching something. Carelessness when dealing with power tools or heavy objects can also result in a fractured finger.
Finger fracture symptoms include:
- Swelling and tenderness at the affected area
- Bruising at the fracture site
- Loss of range-of-motion (ROM) at the fractured area
- Deformity of the fractured finger
Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, your doctor will put your broken finger bone back into place without surgery. A splint will then be installed to hold the finger straight and protect it from further injury during the healing process. Alternatively, your doctor may splint the fractured finger to the finger next to it in order to provide additional support. You may need additional x-rays over the recovery period to make sure your finger is healing correctly.
Depending on the fracture, surgery may be required to realign the bones so they can heal properly. Small tools like pins, screws, or wire are sometimes used to hold the fractured bones in alignment during the healing process.
You will be able to resume using your hand once your doctor determines your finger is okay to move. Simple rehabilitative movements on a daily basis will help reduce stiffness and swelling in the affected finger, although you may be required to see a physical therapist to assist with those exercises.
If you are experiencing pain, swelling, or stiffness in your finger, request an appointment with the orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine online or by calling 904-825-0540.