Bone Fractures of the Hand
Although the bones in the hand are small, a broken (fractured) finger is not a minor injury. Our fingers are capable of very fine, coordinated motions, and disruption of this motion can have tremendous impacts on very normal activities such as eating, typing, or tying your shoes.
The bones in a normal hand line up precisely. When you fracture a finger bone, it can cause your whole hand to be out of alignment. Without treatment, your broken finger might stay stiff and painful.
If you have symptoms of a broken finger, your doctor will likely obtain an x-ray to determine if there is a fracture. Not all fractures show up well on a single x-ray, so it may be necessary to obtain multiple x-rays in different orientations if the diagnosis is unclear. It is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible when the initial injury occurs. This way treatment can be performed in a correct, precise, and timely fashion. Two types of treatment are either non-surgical (for minor breaks) or surgical (more involved/ extensive breaks)
Non-surgical treatment involves putting your finger back into place through the use of a splint or cast. This allows your finger to remain straight and stabilized. This will protect it from further injury. Sometimes the surrounding fingers are splinted to provide more support and stabilization to the injured finger. Usually a splint on a fractured finger is worn for about 3 weeks. You may need more x-rays over this time so that your doctor can monitor the progress of your finger as it heals.
Surgical treatment depends on the type and severity of the fracture; you may need surgery to put the bones into alignment. Small devices, such as pins, screws, or wire, will be used to hold your fractured bones together. A cast will also be applied to keep the finger stable during the following healing weeks.
Once the cast is removed you may or may not require rehabilitation. This helps to reduce the fingers stiffness and swelling and improve movement and strength. You may be required to see a physical therapist to assist you in these exercises.