When Is It Too Late To Fix A Broken Finger? – How To Know & Prevent

Our fingers are more prone to fracture than other parts because we use our fingers to touch and interact with things in our surroundings. When a finger is broken, it can lead to complications if not treated on time. So, when is it too late to fix a broken finger?

If you’re seeking the answer to this question, this article can help you. Keep reading to find out more.

Important: You should see the doctor as soon as possible when you think your finger is broken. Any delay in treatment can make the fracture worsen and leave permanent complications.

When Is It Too Late To Fix A Broken Finger?

Overall, there is not a defined time to consider if it is too late to fix a broken finger because the broken finger comes in different types that need proper corresponding treatments. So, it will be too late if your doctor told that it is not good due to delayed treatment.

The degree of a broken finger can be from mild to extremely severe. In mild cases, the fracture is likely to be stable, and the broken bone does not damage the surrounding tissues or protrude out from the skin. In more severe cases, the bone breaks through the skin, is displaced, or breaks into pieces.

The mild broken bone could heal itself with proper care, while the more severe cases need medical treatment as soon as possible. For example, if you have an open fracture, the protruding broken bone will tear your skin and create an open wound, which is easily infected if left treated for several hours. 

Therefore, if you notice signs of a broken finger, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible to get an accurate examination and proper care instructions. This will help you avoid unwanted consequences when leaving your broken fingers untreated for a long time.

What happens if you leave a fractured finger untreated?

When your finger is broken, it will heal perfectly if you take a prompt and proper treatment; otherwise, the broken probably gets worse, leading to complications and more pain, even difficulty using your hand.

The most common complications when the fractured finger is left untreated are malunion and nonunion.

  • Malunion is the complication when the broken finger is not treated properly, causing the bone fragments to be healed in improper alignments. This can make the finger joints misaligned, which reduces the ability to bend the finger and creates difficulty in using your hand.
  • Nonunion is the complication that occurs when bone healing fails, meaning the bone is still broken because the treatment is not promptly given. The soft tissues stuck between bone fragments or poor blood supply to the fractured finger can cause nonunion. The broken finger with nonunion will get worse and need surgery to fix the problem.

Can an old broken finger be fixed?

Yes, you can fix an old broken finger by getting medical treatment, specifically surgery. The doctor will need to take the X-ray to determine the problem and give you suitable treatments and caring instructions.

When is it too late to fix a broken knuckle?

There is no exact time to determine whether it is too late for a fractured knuckle to be fixed. Depending on the levels of severity, treatments should be given promptly. If you notice severe symptoms like hand loss or inability to move fingers, you should seek medical attention immediately.

A broken finger of a NBA player
A broken finger of a NBA player

How To Know If I Have A Broken Finger?

The initial symptoms to signify the possibility of a broken finger are the immediate pain and stiffness after trauma. Then, the following symptoms would be bruising, swelling, numbness, and even visible deformity in the injured finger. If the injury is severe, the symptom can include heavy bleeding.

However, to know exactly if your finger is broken, you should visit the doctor once you notice the pain and other mentioned symptoms.

Causes of a broken finger

Our hands and fingers are the most easily-injured parts of the body. The fingers do not have muscle, so it is prone to fracture with direct trauma. Thus, the causes of a broken finger can be various, including falls, sports injuries, workplace injuries, vehicle crashes, etc.

Thus, people that frequently play sports involving hand motion, like volleyball, basketball, or skiing, and do heavy manual work often have a higher probability of finger and hand fractures than others.

What Should I Do With A Broken Finger?

When you have a broken finger or think that you have your finger broken, you should see the doctor, especially when you get a severe injury.

If your symptoms are not severe, you can take the following actions when waiting for medical attention:

  • Reduce the finger mobilities; try not to bend the injured finger
  • Put an ice pack in a tea towel and apply that wrapped pack to the swelling for 15-20 mins to reduce it
  • Take off rings on the injured hand
  • If your finger has a cut, clean it immediately to avoid infection

Once your broken finger gets treated, you should follow the doctor’s instructions. Besides, try not to move or use your fractured finger too much until it has completely healed. It is also important to provide enough nutrients and hydration to promote your bone fragment healing.

How to protect fingers from broken

The key to protecting your fingers from a fracture is safety. Try to follow the precautions in your workplace, especially when using heavy-operation machines. Remember to wear safety clothes and accessories when working and playing sports. Additionally, provide enough amounts of vitamin D and calcium to improve your bone health and reduce the probability of bone fracture.


How long can you wait for a broken finger to heal?

A broken finger, after being treated promptly and properly, will take about 4-6 weeks to heal. During that time, you should limit the movement of your finger and follow the instructions from your doctor properly.

What happens if you wait too long to fix a broken finger?

Delaying to treat your broken finger can lead to significant complications, such as the broken getting worse, severe pain, permanent bone deformity, and difficulty in using your hand.

When is it too late to fix a broken bone?

Actually, it does not have a definite time to determine. Depending on how severe the fracture is, the time and treatment can be prompted. So, when you think that you have a broken finger, try to go to see your doctor as soon as possible. If the severe symptoms are visible, seek medical attention immediately.

Video: Broken finger, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


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