How to Care for Your Child with Finger Fracture

This leaflet will provide you with information about Finger fracture, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

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Finger Fracture

What is Finger Fracture?

A "fracture" is another word for a broken bone. A finger fracture is when a person breaks a finger bone.

What are the symptoms of Finger Fracture?

Symptoms of a finger fracture include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness of the hand
  • A finger fracture can also make the finger bent in an abnormal position.

How is Finger Fracture diagnosed?

The doctor will ask a few questions about your child's health, examine your child, and then order an X-ray.

How is Finger Fracture treated?

  • Finger fractures are usually treated with a splint, "buddy taping," or both. This depends on the type of finger fracture your child has and how severe it is.
  • If your doctor advises giving medicine for pain, you can give:
    • Paracetamol (any brand) or, Ibuprofen (any brand)
    • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
    • Do not give your child Aspirin as this can cause a serious complication
  • A splint or buddy tape (using tape to hold the injured finger to a neighbouring finger) keeps the broken bone from moving while it heals. Taking good care of the splint or tape and treating pain will help keep your child comfortable while healing.
  • Fractures can take weeks to months to heal, depending on the type of fracture.
  • Follow up appointments usually are not required. Your doctor will advise you if your child needs a follow-up appointment.

Home care advice

To help reduce the swelling and relieve pain:

  • Raise the hand on pillows when your child is sitting down or sleeping.
  • If your child was given a sling, use it as directed. Don't use the sling during sleep.
  • Remind your child to wiggle the uninjured fingers to keep blood circulating normally
  • When your child is awake, put ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel on the broken finger for 20 minutes every 3 hours for up to 2 days. Don't put ice directly on the skin.

Daily care if your child has a splint:

  • Don't remove or change the position of the splint unless your doctor said it's OK.
  • Check the area around the splint. Ensure the skin is not scratched and the fingers are not pale, blue, numb or tingling.
  • Make sure your child does not pick or scratch under the splint.
  • Do not put anything in the splint. For example, make sure your child does not put toys, food or other objects into it.
  • Keep dirt, sand, lotion and powder away from the splint.
  • Keep the splint dry
  • Put a plastic covering over the splint when your child bathes.
  • If the splint is accidentally splashed, gently blow air onto it from a hairdryer on the cool setting.

Daily care if your child has tape:

  • If you do not see dirt on the skin, your child should use a hand sanitiser instead of washing hands with soap and water.
  • Replace the tape as you were taught if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Keep cotton or gauze between the buddy-taped fingers to protect the skin.
  • Loosen the tape if it feels too tight.

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical care if:

  • Pain does not improve with medicine.
  • Blisters, rashes or raw spots appear on the skin around the splint or tape.
  • A foul smell or drainage comes from the splint or tape.
  • Your child gets a fever while the finger is healing.
  • The splint feels too tight
  • Your child's fingers are pale, cold, numb or tingly.
  • Your child has a splint, and it cracks, becomes loose, gets wet or falls