Phalangeal Fractures Follow-up

Updated: Jan 18, 2018
  • Author: Jay E Bowen, DO; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Return to Play

Return to play in patients with phalangeal fractures is guided by the patient's symptoms, healing, and potential for reinjury. If the fracture can be adequately protected and immobilized, while not interfering with the patient's ability to participate, then sports participation can be allowed, providing the patient has adequate pain control.



Phalangeal fractures, as with all fractures, are subject to the risks of delayed union, malunion, and nonunion. These can be the result of inadequate immobilization and patient noncompliance with immobilization.



Most phalangeal fractures heal without significant complications. Fractures that involve a joint are more prone to prolonged stiffness and decreased range of motion.

Onishi et al conducted a study consisting of 70 patients with 75 unstable proximal phalangeal fractures to determine the risk factors for postoperative finger stiffness after open reduction and internal fixation of unstable proximal phalangeal fractures using a low-profile plate and/or screw system. The study found that plate fixation and dorsal placement were independent risk factors for finger stiffness. The study recommended the use of screw fixation as much as possible for unstable proximal phalangeal fractures using a midlateral approach. [15]