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Did I break my hand/knuckle?

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Did I break my hand/knuckle? I smashed it into the wall on accident and it is extremely painful today note that it happened two days ago. It is bruised all around my knuckle and lower portion of my middle finger. Please help! Note: my parents don't believe me even though I know what it feels like to have broken a bone before- there is no possible way for me to get to a doctor either! I need help!

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 27 Doctors Online

Hello, injuries to finger joints are common and usually heal with out significant symptoms. But some injuries are more serious and may develop problems if not treated carefully. Injury to the proximal in the phalangeal joint, which may appear like a simple sprain, may result in a painful and stiff finger making it difficult to use the hand for gripping activities. The finger joints work like hinges where the finger bend and straightens. The main knuckle joint is Metacarpophylangeal joints. Each finger has 3 phalanges and 2 inter phalanges joints. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connects bones together. Several ligaments hold the joints together .In the PIP joints; the strongest ligament is the volar plate. A sprain is a general term that means a ligament is injured. That means the ligament has been stretched and partially torn. Injuries to PIP joints looks like a painful and swollen finger and the PIP joint .If the joint was completely dislocated it will appear deformed. These can be judged by a physical examination and X rays which are helpful in deciding the treatment as well as whether the joint is aligned properly after an injury or after the reduction of a dislocation. Regarding the treatment, if the ligaments have been sprained or partially torn, treatment will be a short period of splitting and early exercise. Since the PIP joint is very sensitive to injury and becomes stiff very rapidly when immobilized for even a short period of time. The faster the joint begins to move the less likely the stiffness will last. Many sprains can be treated with simple buddy taping to the adjacent finger, when there is rupture of the volar plate or dislocated then the treatment is non surgical. In severe cases surgery is necessary to repair the extensive damage to the collateral ligaments or volar plate. Regarding the rehabilitation, if it is non-surgical, improvement will be in 3-6 weeks. By wearing a dorsal blocking splint, the joint continues to bend freely but is kept from straightening completely. After 3-4 weeks, the splint can be removed and begin strengthening exercises. After surgery wear a split or brace for weeks to give the repair time to heal. Then a physical or occupational therapy is advised for the next 2-3 months and full recovery will be after 4 months or so. During this time using painkillers like ibuprofen twice a day for a week can control pain. I would suggest you to apply ice to bring down the swelling along with the painkillers and get an X ray of the hand and review with the orthopedician for further management. Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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