November 19, 2023

When is it Too Late to Fix a Broken Finger?

The first thing to do when you think your child has a broken finger is to go to your local Minor Injuries Unit or A&E. There, your doctor will x-ray the injury. This will confirm the injury is a fracture and not something like a sprain.

If the x-ray shows a fracture, your doctor will recommend rest and immobilisation of the finger with some type of splint. This is because the splint will hold your child's injured finger in the right position to encourage healing and decrease swelling. Your doctor will also advise on pain relief, such as acetaminophen (Panadol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

Your doctor may need to see you again a few days after the injury for another x-ray to evaluate how the bones in the injured finger are healing. This is particularly important for the top knuckle of the injured finger, known as the metacarpophalangeal or MCP joint, which often gets fractured in closed fist activities such as boxing.

If the broken bones in a finger heal in poor position, it can cause stiffness and limitations in hand function which could last a lifetime. This is more likely if the break involved multiple broken bones or a compound fracture, which requires more care and attention than simple breaks. This is why a quick diagnosis and treatment is so important.


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