What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a Broken Finger?

A woman wearing a splint for a broken fingers.
A person with a broken finger.
An ice pack can reduce swelling from a broken finger.
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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A broken finger can be an extremely inconvenient injury, and the symptoms of a broken finger come with some degree of pain. Symptoms typically begin immediately after the finger is broken, and the severity of symptoms can reflect the seriousness of the break. The ability to move the finger may or may not be impaired, which can be deceiving to those who still have some range of motion left in the finger.

Most times, symptoms of a broken finger include an inability to move it. In some cases, depending on how the bone is fractured, it may still be possible to bend a broken finger. Even if it can be moved, movement will be accompanied by pain. If the injury is at the tip of the finger, there may be blood under the fingernail and a bruised appearance at the end of the finger. More severe breaks can result in the outward appearance of a crooked finger or joints that sit at an odd angle.

Within minutes after the break, the area around the fracture will begin to swell. This swelling will quickly spread throughout the entire finger. Numbness can also set in with the swelling, making the area tender and warm to the touch. The swelling can interfere with the nerves, making even the other fingers numb. Before swelling becomes severe, the application of an ice pack wrapped in a cloth can help keep the swelling down and reduce the impact on other fingers.

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In some severe breaks, symptoms of a broken finger can include tearing of the skin as well as the tendons and tissues beneath the skin. Pieces of bone can puncture the skin and be clearly visible. These compound fractures can necessitate surgery to secure the break with screws to ensure that it heals correctly.

Joint stiffness can be an ongoing problem in fingers that have been broken. When symptoms of a broken finger are not attended to properly and set by a professional, the finger can heal at an awkward angle that can make activities requiring fine motor skills a challenge. At times a broken finger can be difficult to diagnose when the fracture is hairline, but continuous pain is one of the most telling signs that something is wrong. Pain is not always unbearable in minor fractures, but these small breaks can compromise the strength of the finger and should be attended to as thoroughly as a severe fracture.

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burcidi
Post 3
A broken finger is not always painful. Mine was only painful when I touched it. Swelling and disfigurement is more indicative of a broken bone.

I have a friend who had a broken finger and he never knew. He iced it at home and put on a broken finger splint. When he injured his hand years later and had to have an X-Ray, the doctor asked him when he broke his finger!

bear78
Post 2

@alisha-- Sometimes it can take ten minutes for all the broken finger signs to set in. Watch for swelling and increased pain because these are signs that it is broken.

A jammed finger can have similar symptoms but the swelling from a broken finger is usually more severe.

I broke my ring finger a few years back. I fell on it and I thought that nothing happened. I went on my way only to discover that my finger had swollen to a huge size in about ten minutes. It was also painful, stiff and I couldn't move it anymore. I went to the emergency room and had an X-Ray and they told me it is broken.

If your daughter's finger stars swelling, put an ice pack on it and take her to the hospital.

discographer
Post 1

My daughter just walked in and said that she jammed her finger in something in the garage. She says her pinkie hurts but I don't see any swelling, just a slight bruise. It can't be broken right?

How do I tell apart symptoms of a jammed finger vs a broken finger?

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