A doctor will need an X-ray to evaluate the broken finger bones. Treatment depends on the type of fracture and the individual bone or bones in the finger that are 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 splinting 1 finger to another by taping them together. The splint will be left in place 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 can be done in several different ways. The simplest is to apply a splint after aligning the fracture fragments. This usually does not maintain enough stability, so a surgical procedure may be needed.
Surgical options range from pinning the bones with small wires to open procedures using plates and screws to keep the bones in place. The surgeon will discuss the options with you and explain which procedure might be considered best and why.
Next Steps: Follow-up
You will most likely leave the hospital with some type of splint or dressing. It is very important not to disturb your splint. It keeps the fractured finger in the correct position for healing. You'll also need to keep the dressing clean, dry, and elevated in order to decrease the swelling.
Activity may aggravate your injury and cause increased pain, so it is best not to use the injured hand until your follow-up appointment with your orthopedic surgeon.
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 keep this appointment. If the finger is not aligned correctly, it may affect the healing of your finger and cause permanent disability.
In rare cases after a surgical procedure, an infection may occur. The signs of infection are fever, increasing redness, swelling, severe pain in the finger, discharge of pus, or a foul smell from the surgery site. If these symptoms occur, go to the emergency department immediately to be evaluated.