A finger fracture is a break in any of the bones in a finger. Each finger consists of 3 bones called the phalanges. The thumb has only 2 phalanges.
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A finger fracture is caused by trauma to the finger. Trauma includes:
This condition is more common in older adults.
Factors that may increase your risk of a finger fracture include:
A finger fracture may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms, your physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The injured finger will be examined.
Images will be taken of your finger to determine which bones are broken and the type of fracture. This can be done with x-rays.
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your finger, such as immobility or misalignment. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep your finger in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include taping your injured finger to the healthy fingers next to it (buddy taping), or a splint or cast.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. These bones will need to be put back into their proper place. This may be done:
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, your child may need to see a specialist. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.
The following medications may be advised:
Check with your doctor before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye syndrome. Ask your doctor which medications are safe for your child.
As you recover, you may be referred to physical therapy or rehabilitation to start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.
To help reduce your chance of finger fractures:
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Finger fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00257. Updated December 2013. Accessed September 25, 2014.
Newberg A, Dalinka MK, et al. Acute hand and wrist trauma. American College of Radiology. ACR Appropriateness Criteria. Radiology. 2000;215:Suppl:375-8. Updated 2008.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 9/25/2014