Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is a jammed finger the same as a broken finger?"
Jammed my finger, my first finger. I was playing basketball. It is black and blue and swollen. Is it broken? What's the difference between a jammed finger and a broken finger?
You asked a couple questions, and the second question is easier to answer than the first. No, a jammed finger and a broken finger are not the same thing. When most people refer to something as being "jammed" it refers to a specific type of injury where the 2 bones making up a joint are smashed into each other. Specifically the articular surfaces, with the cartilage that line them, are hit into each other and this causes inflammation and injury. The inflammation leads to swelling and build-up of fluid in both the joint itself, and the surrounding tissues, which decreases the normal mobility of the joint. In most cases this swelling will decrease on its own over time with no permanent injury to the joint. Ice and over the counter anti-inflammatories may help expedite the decrease of the swelling. It is possible to get a fracture in one of the bones that make up the joint of your finger in a similar manner to the injury that could lead to a "jammed" finger. This could cause similar swelling, pain, and bruising that a "jammed finger" would cause. However, this can be determined with a simple x-ray. I would recommend making an appointment to be seen by your general practitioner, or an orthopedic surgeon to have your finger evaluated if it continues to bother you. I wish you all the best.
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