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How to Check If You Have a Fractured Finger?

By Apricus Health

14th July 2022

If you have suffered a fall or other type of impact to your hand, it is important to check for a possible fracture. While some fractures are obvious, others may not be as noticeable. 

In this article, we will take a look at the signs, symptoms, and treatment available for broken fingers and what you need to do If you have suffered a finger injury.

How Much Force Does It Take To Break a Finger?

The average person can apply between 5 to 10kg of force to an object before their fingers start to feel pain. However, the amount of force required to actually break a finger bone is much higher. It takes approximately 20 to 30 times more force to break a finger bone than it does to cause pain in the finger. In other words, it would take between 100 and 150 kilograms of force to break a finger bone.

Are Broken Fingers Common?

Yes – broken fingers are common in sports, activities, and day to day life. 

Common causes of broken fingers include falling on an outstretched hand, getting a finger caught in a closing door, or being hit by a heavy object. In most cases, the break will occur in the bones of the finger closest to the nail. These bones are called phalanges. 

Finger fractures can also occur at the joint where the finger meets the hand. This type of break is called a metacarpal fracture. Metacarpal fractures are usually caused by punching something with great force, such as a wall or another person.

Broken Finger Symptoms

The symptoms of a broken finger include pain, swelling, and bruising. The affected finger may appear crooked or deformed. It may be difficult to move the finger or put pressure on it. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a broken finger include:

Pain: This is usually the most prominent symptom of a fractured finger. The pain may be constant or intermittent and may worsen with movement.

Swelling: You may notice that your finger is swollen, especially around the area of the injury. 

Bruising: A black and blue discoloration of the skin may indicate a fracture. 

Deformity: A broken bone can cause your finger to look crooked or out of alignment.

Numbness: If the nerve is damaged, you may feel numbness in your finger.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to get in contact with a specialised hand therapist right away. They will be able to confirm whether or not it is a fracture, and advise you on the right treatment program to ensure it heals correctly.

What if It’s Not Broken, Just Sore?

If your finger is swollen, bruised, or in pain, but not visibly broken, you may have a sprain or strain. These injuries happen when the ligaments or tendons in your finger are stretched or torn. A fall or blow to your hand can cause this type of injury.

Other possible causes of finger pain include:
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Trigger finger
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Infection

If you’re experiencing finger pain, swelling, or bruising, it’s best to see a hand therapist to receive an accurate diagnosis and begin a treatment plan. Depending on the cause of your symptoms, you may need medication, targeted physical therapy, or referral to a specialist for surgery.

What Kind of Health Care Professional Operates on Broken Fingers?

The type of doctor that performs surgery on broken fingers is called an orthopaedic surgeon. These surgeons are specially trained in surgically treating musculoskeletal injuries, including breaks and fractures. Seeing a hand therapist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis on your finger injury, and refer you to the orthopaedic surgeon, if necessary, as not all injuries will require surgery.

If you have suffered a broken finger, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible so that your injury can be properly diagnosed and treated.  Hand therapists are the perfectly equipped to provide you with the initial care and protection you need to heal properly, or get you a referral to the right specialist if surgical opinion is required.

Once you’re in the recovery period of your treatment, hand therapists,  including occupational therapist and physiotherapists, can help ensure you’re getting the hand rehabilitation needed to make a full recovery following the fracture. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

Recovery from a broken finger can take several weeks. During this time, it is important to follow instructions from a medical professional and avoid activities that could put stress on the injured finger. With proper care and treatment, most people are able to make a full recovery from a broken finger.

What Now?

If you think you have fractured your finger, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Apricus Health are the experts when it comes to hand therapy, helping patients through painful hand and wrist injuries. Whether acute or chronic, the team at Apricus will provided targeted assistance to help anyone suffering from broken finger symptoms. From diagnosis to treatment including splinting or casting, Apricus Health will be with you every step of the way. Should you require surgery, you will be referred to the relevant specialist. Surgery is typically only necessary for more severe fractures. 

For more information on identifying, treating, and managing a broken finger, get in touch with Apricus Health today. Our multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals in North Queensland can ensure you’re on the right road to recovery following a fracture.