The fingers are comprised of bones, the phalanges, and joints. The joint between the palm and the finger is the metacarpal-phalangeal joint. The remaining joints of the fingers are referred to as the interphalangeal joints. In order to do all of its unique functions, the bones of the hand must line up precisely. Fractures of the bones that comprise the fingers can interfere with the function of these bones. Improper treatment can result in permanent damage to the hand.
Causes of Finger Fracture
A finger fracture is caused by trauma to the finger. Trauma may result from falls, blows, severe twisting or collisions. There are a number of conditions that might increase the risk of developing finger fractures. These include advancing age, osteoporosis and postmenopausal states in women. In addition, activities that predispose to trauma of the fingers include violence and certain contact sports. Rarely, poor nutrition or congenital bone conditions may predispose the individual to a higher incidence of finger fractures.
Signs and Symptoms of Finger Fracture
Fractures occurring in the bones of the fingers lead to pain, swelling and loss of function. The loss of function may be the result of swelling and pain or may represent the loss of mechanical stability afforded by the intact bones. If the nerves are damaged, there can be localized areas of numbness or tingling.
Occasionally, fractures may produce sufficient swelling so as to impair blood flow. The blood supply may also be directly affected by blockage or arteries or veins. This can lead to the finger appearing pale. Pressure on the nail bed will normally cause the tissue to blanch, or appear pale. When the pressure is removed, the nail bed will rapidly appear pink as blood fills the capillaries. Vascular compromise may produce a delay in the blood refilling the capillaries. It will take an extended time to appear pink again.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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