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JonnyCeltics's avatar

Will it be harmful to wait a day to have my I-think-broken finger X-Rayed? If so, which NYC ER should I go to?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2716points) July 10th, 2011

I hurt my finger playing basketball yesterday; I heard a snap. It is not very swollen with a big, dark bruise on the underside of the middle knuckle, and the whole thing is pretty bruised. It hurts a lot. It is not contorted, just very swollen. I’ve been doing a mediocre job of consistently icing it.*

I am debating going to the ER for an X-Ray or waiting until tomorrow when I can go to my full service school clinic. Is there harm in waiting the extra day, i.e. could it lead to a need to reset the finger that wouldn’t exist today, to a need for surgery, etc.

If I do need to go today, advice on NYC ERs?

*written by my girlfriend

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Waiting one day should not be too harmful if you can handle the pain. I might try splinting it.

dabbler's avatar

Another day probably won’t make much difference as long as you quit using it. The ice is a good idea. You might have damaged the cartilage in the joint &/or dislocated the joint momentarily. Is it still pretty well lined up?
A dislocation can take a long long time to return to normal, joints and cartilage don’t get a lot of circulation for healing. I dislocated a finger joint in ‘91 that took over a decade to return to normal size and it’s still stiff and has a bit of limit to the range of motion. You might want to get one of those aluminum finger splints that will mobilize and protect it while/if you play some more basketball.

JLeslie's avatar

A day should be ok assuming the blood flow through the finger is fine. There might be an urgent care place you can go to rather than an ER if you want to go today.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

It looks well lined up, just swollen but straight, @dabbler. @JLeslie, the blood flow seems ok, but it is numb in a couple of places where it is most bruised, but not numb at the tip…?
Thank you for the responses!

filmfann's avatar

Your description makes it sound like it is broken, but set in place.

Years ago, a friend of mine reached for a football as it bounced, and it came up funny and broke his little finger. I was across the field, but everyone yelled for me, since I have the habit of cracking my knuckles (this is the kind of logic my friends have). I looked at the finger, which was obviously dislocated, and pulled it. The second time, it set properly.
My friend then decided to go to the hospital, just in case.
They x-rayed the finger, and said it was set correctly. However, there was some nerve damage. The result was my friend lost some dexterity, and he doesn’t play piano as well anymore (he was actually considering trying to be a concert pianist).

Go to the doctor. Get it checked out. Long term damage is not worth waiting a day.
It didn’t help my friend, but it might help you if you have numbness.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

Go to Beth Israel!

SpatzieLover's avatar

I think you should go to the ER today and I think your avatar is ironic ;)

YoBob's avatar

Waiting a day is not so much of a big deal. Unless we are talking a complete break (i.e. your finger is dangling at a funky angle) there is not much the doctors can do even if it is broken. I believe the accepted procedure is to “buddy tape” it to the next digit and let it heal.

creative1's avatar

You have 48 hours before a bone starts to actually mend before they would need to break it and reset it if it were broke and needed to be aligned in order to heal properly. I would at very least tape it between 2 popsicle sticks or tongue depressors to keep the finger straight. Typically all they do for a broken finger that isn’t out of place is splint it with a splint made for the finger. I would continue with the ice and keep your hand raised above your heart and that should help with the swelling. I wouldn’ t wait more than 48 hours in case you need the finger re-aligned and then it will be more painful to break and reset. ~Good luck with your x-rays and hope your finger feels better

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