If you think your infant has sustained a broken finger, you may be wondering if such a tiny finger needs a cast for healing of the bone.

One of the obvious signs of a broken bone in an infant’s finger is bruising.

A baby who breaks the finger will require a cast or a splint, depending on the type of fracture,” says Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”

Don’t let the tiny size of an infant’s finger fool you into thinking that a broken bone does not need to be put in a tiny cast. That fractured bone is extremely fragile.

Dr. Lewis explains, “If a growth plate is involved, typically the baby will be fitted for a cast to give the hand more support.

“A growth plate is the area where growth in length occurs.

“Finger fractures in babies less than age one are not very common, since they aren’t typically in the toddler ‘rough and tumble’ stage yet.”

Signs of a Broken Finger in a Baby

• Unexplained crying. You’ve checked everything (diaper, bedding, room temperature, mouth, eyes, ears; you’ve rocked and fed her, patted her back…but the crying continues.

Of course an infant will cry at the pain of a broken finger. Check her fingers for anything suspicious for a bone fracture.

• However, keep in mind that the cause of seemingly unexplained crying is far more likely to be unrelated to finger pain.

• Swelling around the digit

• Inability to move the finger

• Bruising may or may not be present.

• Do not move the suspected digit back and forth or try to cast it yourself with tape. If you suspect a broken bone, take your baby to a doctor.

• Of important note, however, is that a fractured finger in an infant is very rare.

When a bone break occurs in an infant (not related to delivery), it typically involves a limb. And that definitely needs to be put in a cast.

Having 25+ years’ experience, Dr. Lewis completed her pediatrics residency at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital. For two years afterward she was assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.