When to Seek Medical Care
The doctor will need an x-ray to evaluate the position of the broken finger
bones. The best medical treatment would be found in an urgent care facility or
a hospital's emergency department. These facilities are dedicated to the care
of such injuries and have the needed supplies for x-ray evaluation and
splinting, when applicable.
Rarely, after a surgical procedure to stabilize the fracture, an infection
may occur. The signs of this are fever, increasing redness,
swelling, or severe pain of the finger, or even discharge of pus or a foul
smell from the surgery site. If these symptoms occur, go to the emergency
department immediately to be evaluated.
Exams and Tests
The mainstay of diagnosing finger fractures is an x-ray. Temporary
splinting, ice, and pain control are helpful supportive treatments. The type of
fracture will determine the treatment. Each fracture pattern has specific
characteristics that need to be addressed.
- If there is a simple fracture, the doctor will splint the injured finger.
He or she may put the whole hand at rest and splint the entire hand for
- With more complex injuries, the doctor may seek the advice of an orthopedic
surgeon (bone and joint specialist).
Broken Finger Treatment Self-Care at Home
Make a splint (immobilize your finger even if that means putting a popsicle
stick or pen next to it and wrapping something around the stick and your
- Apply ice to the injured finger as you head to an emergency department. Do
not apply ice directly to your skin. Put a towel between the ice
and your finger.
Treatment of broken fingers depends on the type of fracture and individual
bone in the finger that is injured. The emergency doctor or an orthopedic
surgeon will assess the stability of the broken finger.
- If the fracture is stable, treatment may be as simple as buddy taping
(splinting 1 finger to another by taping them together) for about 4 weeks
followed by an additional 2 weeks with no strenuous exercise.
- If the fracture is unstable, the injured finger will need to be
immobilized. Immobilization is done in several different ways.
- Most simply, a splint may be applied after reduction (aligning of the
fracture fragments). This usually does not maintain enough stability, and a
surgical procedure may be needed.
- An orthopedic surgeon has many different techniques for surgical
immobilization from pinning with small wires to open procedures with plates and
screws. The surgeon will discuss with you which procedure is best.
Next Steps Follow-up
You will most likely leave the hospital in some type of splint or dressing.
It is very important not to disturb your splint. It is holding the fractured
finger in the correct position for healing. The best thing to do is keep the
dressing clean, dry, and elevated in order to decreasing the swelling.
- Activity may aggravate the injury and cause increasing pain, so it is best
not to use the involved hand until your follow-up appointment with your
- Your surgeon or doctor may want to see you about one week after your injury
for another x-ray to evaluate the position of the fracture fragments. It is
extremely important to make this appointment. If the finger is not aligned
correctly, it may affect the healing of your finger and leave permanent