If you ask around in an emergency room, you'll find out that finger injuries are some of the most common injuries brought there for treatment. These range from simple bruises to broken bones to dislocated joints. Before you can begin to understand what you should do with a broken finger, it would be a good idea to get to know the anatomy of the hand first.
What's In A Hand?
The hand is divided into three areas.
- The first is the wrist. It has eight bones that move together to allow various motions.
- The second is the palm. It's also called the mid-hand and is composed of metacarpal bones, which form a bridge between the fingers and wrist through muscular attachments. Metacarpal bones are the most commonly traumatized during a crush or punching injury.
- The third are the fingers, which are made up of ligaments, tendons and phalanges. You'll be surprised to find out that the fingers do not have any muscles.
The primary symptom of broken finger is sudden immediate pain after the trauma. Sometimes, you'll see the finger is deformed in the joint or through the bone. If it's deformed at a joint, it's a dislocation. If it's through a bone, it's a fracture. Even if there is no deformity, it's possible to feel sharp pain at the site of the injury.
If you're not sure if the finger is broken, try bending the finger. Most fractures are extremely painful but some broken fingers can also exhibit dull pain. Swelling and bruising can appear 5 to 10 minutes after the finger is broken. By this time, the finger becomes too stiff to move. Swelling can also occur in the other fingers even though those are not broken. If there is severe swelling on the fingers, the fingers or the entire hand may feel numb due to the compression of the nerves.
What You Should Do
First, you need to apply some quick first aid techniques. Make a splint to immobilize the finger. This can be done by putting a pen or popsicle stick next to the finger and wrapping it together. Apply ice or cold compress on the injured finger. Don't ice the skin directly. Wrap the ice with a towel before applying to the finger.
After this, call up emergency personnel or head to the nearest hospital to get medical treatment. The treatment of the broken finger varies according to the type of fracture and what particular bone in the finger is injured. The doctor will access the broken finger's stability.
For stable fractures, treatment would include buddy taping or splinting one finger to another. This is to be done for about four weeks. Two weeks after the splint, the finger has to rest and not do any strenuous activity. For an unstable fracture, the finger will be immobilized using a splint to realign the fracture fragments. If this still doesn't work, a surgical procedure may be in order.
Since prevention is better than cure, it's a must to exercise utmost safety at all times to prevent injuries not only to the fingers but in any part of the body.