Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Broken Finger Treatments

A broken finger, also known as a finger fracture, is a common injury that can occur due to various causes such as falls, sports accidents, or direct trauma. Symptoms of a broken finger typically include intense pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty in moving the finger.

Understanding the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options is essential for a successful recovery. If you suspect a broken finger, contact the hand surgeons at HandSport Surgery Institute for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Anatomy of the Finger: Understanding the Injury

To comprehend the impact of a broken finger, it’s crucial to understand the finger’s anatomy. Each finger consists of three phalanges (bones) connected by joints. Fractures can occur in any of these bones, ranging from a simple crack to a complete break. The location and severity of the fracture influence the treatment approach.

Diagnosis of a Broken Finger: What to Expect

If you suspect a broken finger, seeking medical attention is paramount. A healthcare professional will perform a thorough examination, assessing your symptoms and examining the finger for signs of deformity or instability. X-rays are commonly used to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the fracture.

Non-Surgical Treatments for a Broken Finger

In many cases, non-surgical treatments are effective for treating broken fingers, especially if the fracture is stable and well-aligned.

Immobilization Techniques: Splints and Reduction

One of the primary treatment approaches for a broken finger is immobilization. A splint or cast is applied to stabilize the finger, allowing the bones to heal properly. Sometimes the bones are realigned after local anesthesia – called a reduction. The duration of immobilization depends on the severity of the fracture and the individual’s healing progress.

Pain Management: Medications and Natural Remedies

To alleviate pain and discomfort associated with a broken finger, healthcare providers may recommend pain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be effective, and natural remedies such as applying ice packs or using essential oils may provide additional relief.

Surgical Treatments for a Broken Finger

In certain cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to ensure proper alignment and healing of a broken finger.

Indications for Surgery

Surgery is typically recommended when the fracture is complex, displaced and unreducible, or involves the joint. The surgeon evaluates the specific factors of the injury to determine if surgical treatment is required for optimal recovery.

Different Surgical Procedures for Finger Fractures

Several surgical techniques may be employed for the treatment of broken fingers. These can include

  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): This surgical procedure involves making an incision to realign the fractured bones and then using screws, pins, or plates to hold them in place during the healing process.
  • External Fixation: In this technique, metal pins or wires are inserted into the bones above and below the fracture site. These pins or wires are then connected to an external frame outside the finger, which stabilizes the bones and aids in proper healing.
  • Closed Reduction and Percutaneous Pinning: This minimally invasive procedure involves realigning the broken bones without making an incision. Using fluoroscopic guidance, the surgeon maneuvers the bones into the correct position and then inserts pins through the skin to maintain alignment.
  • Tension Band Wiring: A wire is passed around the fractured bone, and tension is created by attaching it to screws or pins placed on the opposite side of the bone. This technique helps convert muscle tension force into compression, aiding in bone healing.
  • Kirschner Wire (K-wire) Fixation: K-wires are thin stainless steel wires that are inserted through the skin and across the fracture site to stabilize the bones. They can be used alone or in combination with other techniques to maintain proper alignment during healing.
  • Bone Grafting: In cases where there is a significant bone loss or severe comminuted fractures, a bone graft may be necessary. This procedure involves taking bone tissue from another part of the body or using artificial graft materials to fill in the gap and stimulate bone healing.
  • Arthrodesis: If the joint surfaces are severely damaged or the fracture involves the joint, arthrodesis may be performed. This procedure fuses the bones on either side of the joint, eliminating joint movement but providing stability and pain relief. This is a last resort.

Rehabilitation and Exercises for a Broken Finger

After the initial healing phase, rehabilitation plays a crucial role in restoring finger function, strength, and mobility.

Occupational therapy sessions typically involve various exercises and techniques to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength in the affected finger. The therapist may also incorporate functional activities to enhance coordination and dexterity.

Tips for Speedy Recovery from a Finger Fracture

To facilitate a speedy recovery and ensure optimal healing of a broken finger, it is important to follow certain guidelines:

  1. Adhere to the recommended treatment plan provided by your hand surgeon.
  2. Keep the finger elevated and immobilized as instructed and avoid activities that may cause further injury.
  3. Take prescribed pain medications as directed to manage discomfort.
  4. Attend all scheduled rehabilitation sessions and diligently perform prescribed exercises.
  5. Maintain good overall health by following a balanced diet and getting adequate rest.

Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Finger Injuries

While accidents can happen, taking precautions to reduce the risk of finger injuries is essential.

  1. Use protective equipment, such as gloves or finger guards, when participating in sports or engaging in activities with a higher risk of finger injuries.
  2. Maintain a safe and clutter-free environment to minimize the chances of falls or accidents.
  3. Practice proper hand and finger safety techniques while performing tasks that involve sharp objects or heavy machinery.
  4. Strengthen your fingers and hands through regular exercises and activities that promote hand dexterity and grip strength.

In conclusion, understanding the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for broken fingers is crucial for a successful recovery. Non-surgical treatments, such as immobilization and pain management, are often effective, while surgical interventions may be necessary for more complex fractures. 

Rehabilitation and adherence to recommended exercises play a vital role in restoring finger function. By taking preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of finger injuries and maintain optimal hand health. 

If you suspect a broken finger, contact the hand surgeons at HandSport Surgery Institute for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.