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Broken Finger

Prevention

The best prevention for finger fractures is safety. Most fingers are broken by machines or as a result of sporting injuries. Remember to always use safety equipment when doing activities that may injure your hands. Despite all efforts and precautions, injuries do occur and should be evaluated as soon possible.

Outlook

After treatment and 4 to 6 weeks of healing, the prognosis for the bones coming together and healing properly is excellent.

  • The most common problem encountered is joint stiffness. Immobilizing the fingers can result in the capsule and surrounding tissue forming a scar around the joint. It becomes a race to heal the bone before the joint becomes too stiff and a decrease in motion occurs.
  • Many people may require physical therapy (preferably with a hand therapist) for range of motion exercises. If you are one of them, it is important for you to continue the therapy and exercises because range of motion can continue to improve for up to a year after the injury and treatment.

Multimedia

Media file 1: Broken finger. A severe fracture of the proximal phalanx of the small finger. This bone is broken in many small fragments and very unstable. This injury occurred in an automobile accident but also can be seen in any traumatic incident. Because it is unstable, surgery was needed. In this type of injury, the surgeon may use either pins or plates and screws for repair. The pins would stay in for about 4-6 weeks, and plates and screws would be removed only if bothersome.

Media file 2: Broken finger. This x-ray shows an oblique (diagonal) fracture through the proximal phalanx of the ring finger. Notice how the fracture tends to slip or shorten (arrow). Not only does this fracture shorten, but rotational deformities are also seen. Usually it is not stable enough for just taping to adjoining fingers, and surgery may be needed.

Media file 3: Broken finger. This x-ray was taken in the operating room after pinning of a fracture similar to the one in picture 2. The x-ray shows how the multiple small pins hold the fracture in anatomic alignment, and the shortening is gone. This will maintain stability until the fracture is healed. The pins may be removed in 4-6 weeks.

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