Fractures of the fingers are more common in combat sports where a full boxing glove is not worn (karate, taekwondo, MMA, etc.) and are also common in grappling. The type of management will depend on the location of the fracture. 

Fractures of the proximal and middle phalanges (the closest and middle bones of the finger) are often accompanied by avulsion (where a fragment of bone is pulled away by other tissue) of the volar plate (a fibrocartilage reinforcement of the joint capsule that restricts hyperextension). These injuries should be pinned for a short duration (3 to 4 weeks max) to allow for early movement. 

Fractures of the distal phalanx (the furthermost bone in the finger) generally heal well with buddy taping (taping the two fingers together) and avoidance of aggravating movements for 4 to 6 weeks.

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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By Sam Gilbert