Finger Fracture In Children

What is a finger fracture?

A finger fracture is a break in 1 or more of the bones in your child's finger.

What causes a finger fracture?

A finger fracture is most commonly caused by a direct blow to the finger. This can happen during sports activity or a fall. This can also happen if your child's finger is crushed, such as when a door closes on it. Fractures in children younger than 1 year of age are uncommon because their bones are flexible. Fractures in these children may be caused by problems with how a bone was formed, tumors, or physical abuse.

What are the signs and symptoms of a finger fracture?

  • Pain, bruising, or swelling

  • Weakness or numbness

  • Trouble moving his finger

  • Finger looks abnormally shaped

How is a finger fracture diagnosed?

Your child's caregiver will examine your child and ask about his injury. Your child may also need an x-ray.

How is a finger fracture treated?

  • Cast or splint: Your child may need a cast or splint to prevent movement and protect his finger so it can heal.

  • Medicine:

    • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.

    • Antibiotics: Your child may need antibiotics if he has an open wound. This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

    • Td vaccine: This vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent diphtheria and tetanus. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.

  • Closed reduction: This is when caregivers put your child's bones back into their correct position without surgery.

  • Open reduction: This is done when a closed reduction does not work or your child has ligament damage. An incision is made, and the bones and ligaments are put back into the correct position. Open reduction may include the use of wires, pins, plates or screws. These help keep the broken pieces lined up so your child's finger can heal correctly.

What are the risks of a finger fracture?

Your child could get an infection or bleed after surgery. Even after treatment, his finger may not look like it did before his injury. Without treatment, your child may have trouble using his finger for daily activities.

How can I help manage my child's symptoms?

  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your child's finger for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.

  • Elevate: Help your child raise his hand above the level of his heart as often as he can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop his hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

When should I contact my child's caregiver?

Contact your child's caregiver if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child's pain or inflammation gets worse, even after treatment.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child's splint breaks.

  • Your child says his splint feels too tight.

  • Blood soaks through your child's bandage.

  • Your child has severe pain in his finger.

  • Your child's finger is cold, numb, or pale.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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