Distal Phalanx Fractures: What Athletes Should Know

Key Points

  • Common, representing about 10% of all fractures
  • Most will not require surgery
  • Can be associated with extensor or flexor tendon injuries
  • Sometimes a fingernail or nail bed injury can occur too


  • Fracture typically occurs as a result of trauma
  • Can be the result of a crush injury of the finger tip
  • Can occur at the base, shaft, and tuft
  • Xray is needed to confirm the diagnosis


  • Tenderness along the fracture
  • Finger pain, swelling, bruising
  • Deformities may be present if displaced
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Look for “rotation” of finger


  • If the fracture is nondisplaced, it can be treated with a splint
  • Some distal phalanx fractures that are angulated or rotated need surgery
  • Finger range of motion typically begins around the second week from the fracture

Finger Splints

Finger & Hand Rehab

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