If you recently injured your finger and are wondering if it is broken, the best thing to do is get an x-ray to find out. You can get x-rays in your physician’s office, urgent care, or local emergency room. Many breaks or fractures in the fingers can be misdiagnosed as “just a sprain” or a “jammed finger.” If a finger fracture is not treated appropriately, the long-term results may not be good. I have heard from many patients “I could still move it, so I didn’t think it was broken.” While in many cases, a fracture causes the finger to be stiff and difficult to move, however, this is not true in all cases. When in doubt, get it checked out.

The signs of a broken finger are: swelling, bruising, pain, stiffness, numbness, tingling, and increased pain with range of motion after an injury. Other concerning symptoms are deformity and lacerations in the skin. If these symptoms occur, apply a splint to immobilize the finger, elevate the hand to reduce swelling, and wash lacerations with running water to clean the area thoroughly. If the wound is bleeding, apply a clean bandage or cloth and hold pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Please seek medical attention promptly.

Signs of a broken finger:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • stiffness
  • numbness
  • pain with range of motion
  • deformity
  • skin lacerations

4 comments

  1. Raylin Sutter

    My daughter is four and jammed her finger in the car door. I am thinking that she broke it, especially after reading this. I am going to take her to our local urgent care immediately to see if she did. How long does it take for a child’s finger to heal after being broken? http://alaskaurgentcare.net

    • Dr. John Erickson

      Sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury. Fortunately kids are good healers, they heal much quicker than adults. Most finger fractures heal within 4-6 weeks in kids, depending on the type of injury. Good luck!

  2. Richard Holloman

    Hello Dr. Erickson,

    I am now 65 and jammed a ring finger about 6 months ago while volunteering at my local Humane Society. It didn’t hurt too bad afterwards so I thought it was going to be ok so I kept it in a splint for a while but it is still somewhat painful if jarred and it has limited motion towards the palm. I have no insurance so was wondering if you could possibly give me a typical range of costs if surgery is suggested by an orthopedic surgeon. Thank you for your article and your time!

  3. Lillian Schaeffer

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to have an x-ray done if you’re wondering if a finger is broken. My daughter jammed her finger the other day, and we thought it was just a sprain, but it’s swelling more, so we’re worried it might be broken. We’ll definitely look into taking her to a professional to have an x-ray done so we know for sure. Thanks for the great post!

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