Rugby, cricket, volleyball and basketball – these sports are those that pose the highest risk when it comes to hand, wrist and finger injuries. However, while we’re in the game a twist or a knock can be easily ignored until you go home and ask your significant other, “How do I know if I have a broken finger?”
As with any sports injury, if you leave it and hope that it will go away on its own, you risk long-term damage. But hand and finger injuries are frequently ignored as they aren’t considered as serious as a torn knee ligament or a shooting pain in your shoulder.
Broken Finger? Signs to Look Out For
Perhaps, before you rush off to the orthopaedic surgeon you want to confirm whether or not your finger is broken, and not just sprained or jammed. Short of the bone actually sticking out of the finger, here are some signs to consider:
- Cracking or popping sound when you try to move your finger
- Complete loss of movement (depending on the severity of the break) and inability to straighten the finger
- Significant swelling
- The pain gets worse and not better with rest and ice
- Finger looks crooked or unnaturally bent
Your doctor will likely be able to perform a visual diagnosis, but x-rays are usually needed to determine the extent of the break.
However, are you one of those people who will leave it, perhaps strap it to the finger next to it and go about your day?
What Happens When a Broken Finger is Left Untreated?
If you’re lucky and your break isn’t too severe your finger will realign, and the bones will knit on their own with no lasting issues. If not, then you may be facing:
- Permanently bent or deformed digits which have healed incorrectly
- Ongoing joint stiffness from internal scar tissue
- Nonunion, when the bones fail to knit together. Either the break positioned them too far away from each other to fuse, or scar or skin tissue become wedged in between the break.
- Osteomyelitis – inflammation of the bone or bone marrow due to infection.
If in doubt, we advise you to seek a medical opinion and not leave the health of these essential little digits to chance.
Dr Baba is a highly qualified sports medicine physician and orthopaedic surgeon who can offer sound advice on your broken finger. Call us now for your consultation.