What are phalangeal fractures?

Updated: Jan 18, 2018
  • Author: Jay E Bowen, DO; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Hand injuries are very common in all sports, especially in ball-playing athletes. Most athletic hand injuries are closed hand injuries and include ligamentous injuries, fractures and fracture-dislocations, tendon injuries, and neurovascular problems. There is increasing recognition that fractures and dislocations of the hand can result in long-term pain and disability if they are not recognized and treated early. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Extra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx are common and are associated with significant soft-tissue injury. Most distal phalangeal fractures are crush injuries from a perpendicular force. They can be associated with significant debility, usually in the form of soft-tissue loss, nail bed injury, or posttraumatic neuromas. Intra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx can result from avulsion of either the extensor tendon, also known as mallet fractures, or of the flexor digitorum profundus, also known as jersey fractures. These can be associated with either small dorsal fragments or larger articular fragments with volar subluxation of the volar fragment. Conservative management is usually the standard of treatment.

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