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Question:

Sprained or Broken Finger

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I accidently closed the car door onto my finger. At first there was no pain, but yesterday it had swollen and my finer nail is now blue. It is very painful along the tip of my finger. The swelling has now gotten worse. I am not sure if it is broken or sprianed


Answer:

 If you can actively move your finger: flexion and extension, and you do not have any remarkable swelling or deformity, then you do not need to go to the hospital but if this is not the case and on the contrary you develop significant swelling or deformity and you cannot move actively the finger, then you should go to the Emergency Room to be assessed by a physician and get X rays taken to rule out a fracture or dislocation. The suggested strategy in the case that you can actively move the finger and you have no significant swelling or deformity would be: you must apply ice 4 to 6 times during this first 24 hours for periods no more than 15 minutes each time to avoid swelling, and also ease the pain, you can take anti inflammatory medications (“Advil”, “Motrin”) every 8 hours for the first 3 days and then 1 or 2 times a day as needed. After the first 24 hours from the injury, you will start applying on your finger warm and wet compresses for periods of no more than 15 minutes each time, 2-3 times a day, also you can do series of active movements of flexion and extension. The pain after the injury could persist for about 2-3 weeks but eventually will disappear.



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