How Long Does A Broken Finger Take To Heal Post-Treatment?

by | May 15, 2024

Your fingers have bones called phalanges, and each finger, except the thumb, has three of them. The thumb has two. A common injury like a fracture can happen in any of these finger bones or the knuckles, which are the joints where the finger bones meet.

A major concern is “How long does a broken finger take to heal?”. Recovery takes around 3 to 4 weeks. The pain and swelling from a broken finger can stick around for weeks, but it should start getting better gradually, usually a few days after the break.

Types of Finger Fractures

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand says that there are countless ways that hand fractures can happen. Following is how they categorize the different types of broken fingers:

Method of Fracture

  • Avulsion fracture: When a ligament or tendon and a piece of bone are attached to pull away from the main bone.
  • Impacted fracture: When the broken ends of a bone push into each other.
  • Shear fracture: When a bone splits in two because a force makes it move in different directions.

Skin involvement

  • Open fracture: When the bone breaks through your skin, causing an open wound.
  • Closed fracture: When the bone breaks but your skin doesn’t break.

Bone position

  • Stable fracture: When the bone cracks but doesn’t move.
  • Displaced fracture: When the bone breaks into separate pieces that move and don’t line up.
  • Comminuted fracture: A displaced fracture where the bone breaks into three or more pieces.

Broken Finger Treatment

Treating a broken finger depends on where it’s broken and if it’s stable. For a stable fracture, taping the broken finger to a nearby finger might be enough. Unstable fractures need to be kept still, often with a splint.

Sometimes, if the fracture is unstable or not in the right position, surgery might be needed. Surgeons might use pins, screws, or wires to fix the broken bones.

Recovery time can be short, like a few weeks, or longer, up to a year, depending on different things. How well you recover also depends on if there’s any nerve or blood vessel damage or if the joint is hurt and might cause arthritis later on.

Is It Okay to Leave a Broken Finger Untreated?

If you don’t treat a broken finger, it can harm the tissues nearby, like tendons, nerves, and joints. This triggers the need for major surgery to fix it. The bone might also heal in a bent way or with problems that make arthritis happen fast.

When Is It Too Late to Fix a Broken Finger?

Fractures should be treated within the first 5-7 days, so it’s important to see a hand surgeon promptly. After that, the bones are either left to heal in their current position (which is what usually happens) or might need surgery to fix them (which is rare).

Concluding Thoughts

A fractured finger is a common orthopedic injury. It usually happens during sports or daily physical activities. Understanding “How long does a broken finger take to heal?” can help you monitor the recovery progress after the treatment.

Visit Our hand and upper extremity surgeon, Dr. Luo, at Randy Y. Luo, M.D. Our doctor is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, The American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and The American Association for Hand Surgery. Dial (713) 794-3307 to reach out.

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