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What is a fractured finger?

A fracture of a finger (phalanx) is a break in one of the finger bones. Physiotherapy is an important treatment following a fractured finger.

How can fractured finger happen?

A fracture of a finger bone can be caused by the crushing of the finger between two objects. This can occur when a finger is trapped in a door or jammed between a fast moving ball and a stick or bat.

Examination of finger following the early stages of bone healingAbove: Examination of finger following the early stages of bone healing

What are the symptoms of a fractured finger?

Immediate and intense pain is felt at the site of the fracture when a finger is broken. When you look at the finger there may be an obvious bump or deformity caused by movement or displacement of the bone pieces when the finger bone is broken. The finger may also be swollen and bruised. Other symptoms include::

What should I do if I have fractured my finger?

If you suspect that you have fractured your finger you should go directly to your nearest accident and emergency department. To help with your pain and control any swelling, you should apply ice to the finger. Ideally, this can be a bag of frozen peas in a moist towel or cloth or submerging the finger in a cup of ice with a little bit of water for up to 20 minutes.

Assessment in an accident and emergency department is important in the treatment of a fractured finger bone. Initially, they can diagnose the injury and the extent of the damage by performing an X-ray. From this, they can advise you how long the injury is expected to take to heal and determine an appropriate treatment plan. This may involve applying a splint or, in some cases, surgery to put the bones back in their original position and to hold them there.

Physiotherapy treatment following a fractured finger.

Immediately after surgery, or when the bone has healed sufficiently, physiotherapy treatment can start. Treatment may involve electrotherapy to decrease pain, swelling and promote healing. Your physiotherapist will also provide you with a graduated programme of stretching and strengthening exercises to improve joint movement and strength. When you do return to normal activity or participation in sports your physiotherapist will advise you on protective measures such as taping techniques, splints and supports to protect your finger.

Other treatment may include:

What shouldn’t I do if I have fractured my finger?

If you have or suspect you have fractured a finger, you should rest your hand and not perform any activities that could cause the broken ends of the bone to move on one another. You should also avoid any activities which may increase the blood flow to the injured area. These include hot showers, heat rubs, massage and the consumption of alcohol. These may increase bleeding and swelling around the broken ends of bone and delay your recovery.

Could there be any long-term effects from a fractured finger?

Most finger fractures heal in a matter of weeks. Some injuries can cause longer-term effects as a number of nearby structures may also be injured when the finger is broken. These include surrounding joints and the cartilage lining the surfaces of these joints, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.

To arrange a physiotherapy assessment call on 0330 088 7800 or book online.

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