Phalangeal Fractures

Phalangeal Fractures
May 27, 2016

Untitled“Break in any phalanx of the finger or thumb of the hand be it proximal, distal or middle are termed as phalangeal fractures. To simply put forth each finger of the hand is made of three phalanges and the thumb of two. When an injury from a direct blow or crush, any joint disease or injury while playing ball sports breaks and displaces the bones in the phalanges, they are referred to as phangeal fractures”, eminently says DR. Gupta. “Swelling and intense pain with visible deformity are the signs which will enforce you to seek medical attention and imaging tests, radiographs and CT scan help in furthering the prognosis.”

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With an experience of more than 25 years and 6000 surgeries Dr. Gupta has introduced and treated patients with many international painless techniques skillfully. The graph of his professional career shows an upward trend in fame and designations in AIIMS, The Medanta and at present as head of shoulder and hand division at Max Healthcare.
Speaking further about phalangeal fractures Dr. Gupta says, “ Fractures that are mild in nature can be treated by just splints or buddy taping but severe fractures might also result in ligament tear and soft tissue injury causing mallet or jersey finger and are thus treated with surgical techniques which to an extent depend upon the severity of the injuries and associated damage thereof.”

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“Patients should not be wary of surgical outcomes though I would like to enforce here that any outcome of surgery is dependent on many factors such as the age of the patient, the force of the injury, the source by which the injury was sustained, how well has the patient complied to the treatment, the treatment technique adopted, length of immobilization and above all the expertise and skill of the surgeon who has undertaken the task”, very calmly states Dr. Gupta.

Even after acquiring international knowledge from Germany and USA after MBBS and MS Ortho from AIIMS, Dr. Gupta asserts that, “conditions that affect the upper limbs do not vary from country to country rather each condition is unique in itself. It is just the treatment methodologies that make the difference.”


FAQ – Phalangeal Fractures

The thumb and the fingers of the hand are formed by the phalanges with the thumb having two phalanges i.e. (proximal and distal) and the fingers comprising of three i.e. (proximal, middle and distal) thus, each hand having a total of 14 phalanges. Break in any phalanx (proximal, middle or distal) of the finger or thumb are termed as phalangeal fractures.
Factors that are contributory to phalangeal fractures are:
  • injuries to the phalanx during work involving a machinery
  • injuries sustained by the phalanx during sports such as volleyball or basketball
  • falls which result in traumatic damage to the fingers or thumb
  • injuries in the nail bed by a direct blow /crush
Phalangeal fractures can easily be ascertained on the basis of intense pain and swelling in the fingers with tenderness in and around the bone. Deformity, stiffness and open wound or injury is another significant feature which asserts the prevalence of phalanx fracture.
When the patient seeks medical advice for an injury to the phalanx or any other traumatic condition which has caused pain or swelling to it, the orthopedics recommends imaging tests of oblique, lateral and anteroposterior view of the injured region and furthers the prognosis with radiographs and CT scan to conclude the prevalence of the fracture.
Non displaced and mild fractures are effectively treated with splints and buddy taping with prescribed medications, ice application and elevation to limit movement, as tools for faster healing whereas severe and displaced fractures are treated with open or closed reduction and internal fixation or extension block splinting with K- wires.
Every surgery involves a few complications that are treatable. Phalangeal fractures involve complications that may vary from stiffness to treatment of deformity. Stiffness occurs mostly because of an associated soft tissue injury or elderly age where the bones are weak to spring back to normality easily. Rarely patients might also face non healing of fractures which are clinically not significant and deformity in the phalange which is further repaired by Osteotomy. The patient might also become prone to post traumatic arthritis.
The fractures of the phalanx cannot be avoided as such but the factors that trigger the such as being involved in sports such as volleyball or basketball can be played by wearing protective guards to sustain injury that are mild and wear gloves with protective gears to work with machinery to avoid direct injury or blow to the hand. People who are suffering from joint diseases or weak bones can take precautionary medications to stop deterioration that might result in a phalangeal fracture.
Posted in Condition & Treatments by admin