Is My Finger Broken?

By Johnny Barthel, OT, CHT

How Do I Know if my Finger is Broken?

Here is the quick answer to How do I know if my Finger is Broken?

What happened? 

How do I know if my finger is broken? The mechanism of injury or MOI is very telling if you broke your finger. Some injuries are known for breaking a tendon or ligament and not a bone. Pain hours after an injury is a good indicator that there might be a break or sprain.

anatomy of bones of the hand

How do I know if my finger is broken?

How do I know if my Finger is Broken? Can you move the finger?

Many people will answer yes; however, the question really should be, “can you move it like you could before the injury.”  You may still be able to move a finger that is broke. If you can not move or straighten it without extreme pain, you need to have a doctor look at it.

Is it crooked or sticking out in the wrong direction?

Or was it,  and someone popped it back in place?  This could be a dislocation, meaning out of joint. A dislocation sometimes has a fracture too. You may have swelling and bruising as well. If your finger is bent or crooked, you need to have a doctor examine it.

Are You Experiencing a Bruise or Swelling?

Even a “sprain” can bruise and swell; however, with broken bones you will experience a deep dark purple-blue-black color.  If swelling stays in the finger or area for several days, it will not hurt to have a doctor examine it.

Should You Visit the ER?

If you are not bleeding, yes, you can wait a day or two and see if “Mother Nature” helps it heal. However, if it is pointing in the wrong direction or looks wrong, get an x-ray and see your doctor. Sometimes fractures in the hand and wrist are so small that they do not show up on an x-ray immediately, and the ER tells you it is not broken. However, if pain and lack of motion persist, you should have a doctor examine it.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

If you hurt your hand, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute is here to help.  JOI has the top hand experts in Northeast Florida, and they are here to help you.  Let JOI get you on the road to recovery! JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000, schedule online, or click below:

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician


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