April 12, 2019

How do you know if you have a broken finger?

Hand, Wrist and Elbow


Broken fingers are a common injury. Fingers are the most frequently injured part of the hand because you use them for many things in your daily routine.

Do not leave a broken finger left untreated as it can lead to improper healing and deformity. A broken finger can cause your entire hand to be out of alignment if not treated properly. If the swelling won’t go down and you think you broke your finger, visit any of OrthoIndy’s Urgent Care locations.

Learn more about OrthoIndy Urgent Care


Your hand is made up of 27 bones, 14 of them being in your fingers (phalanges). Your finger is made up of three phalanges: proximal phalange, middle phalange and the smallest and farthest from the hand, the distal phalange. The thumb is the only finger without a middle phalange.


  • Catching your fall with your hand
  • Slamming your finger in a door
  • Jamming your finger while playing a sport
  • Athletes that use their hands a lot such as basketball and football players have a higher risk of breaking their fingers.
  • Carelessness using power tools
  • Certain occupations can lead to a higher risk of hand injuries such as construction or machinery work
  • Osteoporosis and calcium deficiency in the bone may also increase the risk of broken fingers

Broken finger symptoms

  • Tenderness at fracture site
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Trouble moving the finger
  • Deformity of the finger

Physician examination

There are many different ways you can break your finger:

  • Into several pieces
  • Shatter completely
  • In a spiral
  • Straight across the bone

It’s important to tell the physician examining your finger when and how the injury happens so the physician can determine where the break is. The physician may also order an X-ray to determine the diagnosis.

Parent's guide to at-home treatment

Treatment for a broken finger


Your physician will give you a brace or splint to wear depending on the injury to help protect it from any further damage. It will help keep your finger in place while it heals. The length of time you have to wear a brace or splint will depend on the severity of the injury. During the recovery process, the physician will order X-rays to monitor your finger as it heals.


You may need surgery to fix your broken finger. Screws, wire or pins may be used to keep the broken bones aligned. Healing time for a broken finger will vary depending on the type of surgery and severity of the injury.


Recovery from a broken finger

You will be able to move your hand again when your bones are aligned. You may be required to see a hand or occupational therapist to help reduce the swelling and stiffness of the joints in your finger.

Learn more about hand, wrist and elbow treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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