How Do You Know If Your Child's Finger is Jammed or Broken?

March 18, 2022

As kids become more active in sports, jammed finger injuries are becoming more common. When a jammed finger occurs it can stretch or tear the tissues around the finger joint which can cause a sprain. If the impact on the finger is great enough it can cause tendon damage or a bone fracture. A jammed finger is most commonly caused by an injury to the joint in the middle of the finger where it bends in half. This joint is called the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP). 

What sports have the most jammed finger injuries?

Ball sports such as basketball, baseball and volleyball, the risk for a jammed finger is greatest when attempting to catch or hit a ball.

How do you tell if your child's finger is broken or sprained?

Symptoms of a broken finger are deformity of the finger or difficulty moving the finger. However, symptoms can be more subtle and swelling may be the main complaint. Other symptoms that can signal a broken finger include pain, tenderness, bruising, stiffness and numbness.

When should you see the doctor?

You should schedule an appointment for your child anytime the finger is excruciatingly painful or if symptoms do not improve within the first 24 to 48 hours. Fingers that appear bent or darkly colored require immediate medical attention. Untreated finger fractures can cause long-term stiffness, loss of motion and arthritis.

How is a finger injury diagnosed?

Doctors can usually tell the difference between a jammed finger and a broken finger based on a visual examination. We will ask the child to try to move their finger. A jammed finger will usually have range of motion, but if your child has a broken finger, they will hardly be able to move it. An X-ray will be taken to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for a fractured finger?

Treatment options for fractured fingers depends on how severe the injury is. Treatment can include splinting, casting, surgery and/or rehabilitation.

It is important to take your child to pediatric specialists who are experts in treating only kids. At Children's Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates, LLP our board certified, fellowship trained, specialists provide the best child-friendly care using the latest cutting-edge technology that results in the safest and most accurate outcomes. If you suspect your child has a finger fracture, please call our office at (727) 898-2663. 

Medically Reviewed by Lee G Phillips, MD, Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon - Hand Specialist

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