Broken Knuckle


image001The knuckles located on top of the hand and underneath the fingers play an essential role for the hand to move, grasp, and perform all functions. They are tough, very thick bones that help your hand connect to your fingers. Although they are known to be strong bones, they like other bones on the body can still be fractured and broken.

A broken knuckle is fun- said no one ever. Yes, having a broken knuckle can be very painful and inconvenient. It can cause you not to be able to use your hand without feeling sharp pain. You hand can also be bruised, swollen, and discolored when you break the knuckle in it.

If you feel that you may have a broken knuckle you can see a doctor. The doctor will perform an X-ray to diagnose the break. There are several ways that a doctor or you (at home) can treat, mend, and gain pain relief from a broken knuckle.

Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Knuckle

The largest cause of a broken knuckle is direct trauma such as punching someone or something hard. Often broken knuckles are called boxer’s fractures, because boxers break their knuckles often. However, broken knuckles can be caused by something heavy crushing the knuckle, a fall, car accident, and other miscellaneous causes. If you think you may have a broken knuckle here are some of the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing:

Immediate & Sharp, Stinging Upon Injury

Anytime you break or fracture your knuckle it will hurt immediately after the injury occurs. It is an aching, stabbing, sharp or dull pain but it is there and you should know it. Even with little pain if your hand has undergone a trauma directly and it hurts in your knuckle region you could still very well have broken something. The pain also can coincide with the severity of the injury, itself.

Bruising and Discoloration in the Area

When a trauma has occurred in the knuckle of your hand, it results in a loss of blood in the region where the damage is done. As this blood pools up it appears as redness, purple, blue discoloration of the pigment of your skin- also known as bruising. Sometimes a broken knuckle will not bruise, however more serious breaks will prominently bruise.

Numbness and Swelling

Typically within only a few minutes of sustaining the injury or broken knuckle you will experience numbness and tingling sensations. This happens as the swelling progresses because when something swells it has a tendency to crush and compress the nerves that give you ‘feeling.’ The swelling will take place very rapidly and before a short time passes you may also discover it hard to move your hand. Additionally, the swelling & bruising can refer to other parts of your hand and down to your fingers, occasionally.

Knuckle Retracts and Will Look Sunk In

This is typically a sure-fire certain sign that you have a broken knuckle! If the bone that connects a few or just a single part of your finger looks like it has disappeared when you contract or tighten you hand- you can bet you have  broken knuckle and that the bone has been crushed and severely compromised.

Here are some pictures of Broken Knuckles to give you an Idea of what one looks like!

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Treatments and Protocols for a Broken Knuckle

When it comes to having a broken knuckle you may need to see a doctor immediately upon injury to have it taken care of and X-rayed. Here are some of the ways that you can or your doctor will treat you for a broken knuckle:

Scrapes, Lacerations and Wounds

Often if have hit something with your hand or it has been directly smashed you will notice scrapes, lacerations, cuts or wounds that need to be treated. You should stop the bleeding first, clean the wound with soap and water, rinse, dry and then bandage it up so you do not fall prey to infections that can occur from exposure to bacteria.

Pain Management

Since you broke your knuckle you are most likely experiencing pain when you move your hand, and also pain associated with the swelling. This type of pain can range from a constant dull ache to a very sharp pain that throbs. The best way that you can help to get some relief is to take an anti-inflammatory over the counter medicine such as tylenol, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. Often if your pain is sever enough a doctor may even provide you with a stronger medicine available by prescription only.

Another way that you can also manage your pain is to put ice on the area that is affected. It will help take the swelling down and to numb the pain. It is recommended that you elevate your arm and hand so that the blood flow and throbbing is not as intense. Elevation can help alleviate that throbbing pain caused by blood flow pumping through where you injury is located.

Get Swelling Down

The swelling can be a bad thing! It can cause more pain than anything so it is important that you take and utilize an ice pack along with an anti-inflammatory medication to help take care of the swelling as quickly and optimally as possible. Many times the doctor will not cast a hand or be able to do any type of treatment to it if swelling is serious.

Splint or Cast

When a knuckle is broken and really out of place, your doctor or you can tape it to a stationary position either by using a splint or by using another finger or other parts of the hand to stabilize it.

Surgeries for Severely Broken Knuckles

Many times a broken knuckle with rest, ice, and a splint can heal on its own. Usually 4-6 weeks time. However, in more serious circumstances the break can be so severe that it merits medical intervention in the form of surgery. The doctor will decide what he needs to know for you to have the best prognosis whether it is wiring your hand or using metal plates to reinforce the bone.


  1. I had a fight and I fractured my right knuckle, and now I’m just using my left hand because it seems fine there is no pain even when I apply pressure but it just doesn’t seem right if I attempt to punch something with my left hand it isn’t the same as it was before it doesn’t hurt like my right hand when it was fractured I’m not sure what’s wrong, I can still punch with my left knuckle but still it isn’t the same.

    • Go to your doctor and he or she can do an x-ray. If you have fractured your knuckle, you may need to have it reset or put in a cast. It will heal much better and aster if you get it properly taken care of.

  2. I had hit a wall and her address a snap or somthing and when I press on my knuckle I’m in excruciating pain, my pinkies been number ever since also it’s quite deformed also it looks like my knuckle has moved acroos my hand to the right please get back to me I’m at the hospital tomorrow also for an x ray

    • It sounds like you already doing the right thing by getting an X-ray. Get the X-ray and follow your doctor’s orders. It sounds like you have an extremely painful injury, but your doctor will hopefully be able to fix you up fairly quickly. Good luck, Ronin Best!

  3. So a week ago I got into a fight with a friend and having a history of self harm I decided the best way to deal was to repeatedly punch the side of my shed. The shed is made of this plasticy fake wood that’s like the siding in houses. I punched it in the reinforced corner probably a dozen or more times. After the second punch my hand went numb so I just kept going. That night my hand was numb and bruised as well has some pretty sever swelling. The next day since I didn’t tell my parents I went to gym and played tennis, then hit that hand on a racket. It returned to being a dark purple color and my gym teacher as well as the trainer at my school bother said it looked broken. That was Tuesday now it’s the following Monday and I have full motion and I can write but squeezing anything hurts and brushing it against something as simple as my work nametag sends pain radiating down my hand. It’s definitely not broken Bc I can move it and write with it and it’s not swelling. It’s bruised noticeably. I just don’t know what to do because I don’t want to sit out of gym for a damn bruise- what do you think I did?

    • You should probably go to the doctor. Being able to move your hand does not mean that it is not fractured and broken. Actually, as a child, I did gymnastics and spent a week playing on an arm that was broken in three places. If you have a high enough pain tolerance to hit a wall again and again, then you may not realize that something is broken as well. Go to the doctor and get checked out.

  4. one day i was mad and punched a metal door and i dont know if its broken because when i went to go see the trainer at my school they said the swelling didn’t feel like my knuckle was under that or have been moved it felt like it was in the right spot so they said i might have popped a blood vessel and it only swells up big if i move it but any other time its ok so do you think i broke it for just popped something.

    • It is possible that you have broken your knuckle, but it is also possible that you only damaged it. It would be wise either way for you to speak with a doctor, but if you are unable to do that, then reduce stress on your hand at this time. You may choose to bind it up or allow it to cool with ice or a pad. Whatever you do, be sure to no longer punch metal doors or anything else. Find other ways to reduce your anger and you will find that your life will have less stress from injuries. Remain positive, Nikolai.

  5. My inex knuckle hurts with a dull ache when i bend my finger… i didnt hit it on anything but it feels like i did. There is no bruising but it feels like there is bruising. Should i go see the doctor?

    • You probably do not need to see the doctor at this time, but if the pain continues to grow or becomes unusual, then make an appointment. However, continue to reduce stress on your joint as they may take a longer time to heal that a normal injury. If you want to put something cool on your finger when you are inactive, then you may be making a wise decision. Continue to monitor your finger and if it gets worse over time, then be sure to make an appointment. Remain positive and reduce stress, Lindsay!

  6. I hurt my knuckle punching plywood about seven months ago, and it swelled up and bruised but then went down after about a week of icing. I can use my hand normally now, but I box, and I can’t hit a punching bag with anything smaller than a heavy glove on without my knuckle getting sore and inflamed. Could I have fractured it back in the spring, and if so, have I left it too long to go to a doctor?

    • Speak with a doctor if you are able. It is never too late to take care of your body. Do not use the punching bag for the next week to allow your body to heal. Instead, focus on other exercises that will help you in the ring. If you find that you are slow or need a faster reaction time, then practice that as best you are able. Remain mindful and careful as you move into the future. You may find yourself causing permanent damage to your body if you do not give yourself time to recuperate. Remain positive and give your hand some time to heal, OW.

  7. I injured my knuckle punching a piece of plywood 7 months ago. It swelled up and bruised for about a week, but I iced it and it went down. Now I can use my hand like normal but I box and when I hit a punching bag with anything less than a heavy glove on that knuckle gets sore and inflamed a little. Could I have fractured it back in february, and if so, is it too late to go to a doctor and have it fixed?

    • Speak with a doctor if you are able. It is never too late to take care of your body. Do not use the punching bag for the next week to allow your body to heal. Instead, focus on other exercises that will help you in the ring. If you find that you are slow or need a faster reaction time, then practice that as best you are able. Remain mindful and careful as you move into the future. You may find yourself causing permanent damage to your body if you do not give yourself time to recuperate. Remain positive and give your hand some time to heal, OW.

  8. I was using a nail gun and shot myself right in the side of my top index knuckle.. (I didn’t mean to of course) but it does hurt I don’t have a lot of bruising but I can’t bend it and it hurts really bad when I bump it ..

    • It sounds like you may have broken something–you have certainly bruised the tissue. If it is hurting a lot, you should really consider going to the doctor. At the very least, your doctor will want to give you a tetanus shot boost. Get better, Bo Faunce and be safe!

  9. I punched someone multiple times and I think caught the side of his head once or twice….. He deserved it…. Anyways my pinky and ring finger hurt badly. Pinky the worst in the knuckle area I have full movement in the other 3 fingers but if I try to extend my pinky out there is severe Sharp pain that moves all the way down my hand depending on how I move. Is there any point in going to a doctor or should I just ride it out. There is not a ton of bruising or swelling … Yet so from what I read already here that seems to be a good sign that maybe it’s not to severe and will heal on its own in time yes? Not fun of course it’s my right hand trying to do everyday things like brushing my teeth even with the off hand is difficult but painful if I try with my right as I normally would.

    • Does it feel like any of the bones have been broken? If you do not feel any misshapen or bent bones, then you may have a fracture or just bruising. When you break something, you would normally have a lot of bruising and swelling. If you have health insurance, I would go to the doctor just to be safe. While I recommend going to the doctor in any case of an injury or illness, if you do not have health insurance or the money to go, you could probably wait a day or two to see if your hand starts to heal and feel normal again.

  10. I Tryed to punch someone in the face and missed and ended up punching a granite wall and it did swell a little bite but not much and is bruised and I have dark skin so it hard to see if it bruised and red it hurts to Touch it in the area and to move my pinky and middle finger

    • If you are able to put your finger in a temporary splint, then do so. Minimize movement at the region where the pain is. Take note of any changes that you experience and if you become concerned with your hand, then make an appointment with a doctor. In the future, restrain yourself from punching walls to protect your hand.

  11. I did a handstand and my phone was in my pocket and it fell out and landed on my index finger like in my knuckle I had immediate pain and soon after my finger became bruised and then swollen is my knuckle broken

    • Thank you for your enthusiasm. You have posted this comment twice and I answered it is your previous post for simplicity. Thank you for your readership!

  12. I did a handstand and my phone was in my pocket and it fell out and landed on my knuckle of my index finger I had immediate pain and it started to swell up and turn black and blue is my knuckle broken

    • Your knuckle is likely not broken. However, it would be wise to keep it straight and keep it cool. If you are able to get a split and put your knuckle in it until it feels better, then do so. If the pain persists or the swelling increases, then make an appointment with a medical professional if you want to. If you find that you are able to bend your knuckle, then do so lightly a few minutes each day until you feel better.

  13. i fell and landed on my side of hand and my arm and that was 5 weeks ago my knuckle is sore and pinky finger to when i push finger outwards there is pain clench my hand there is pain in knuckle and pinky and wrist isa little weird as well i cant lean on that hand when getting up from the floor what do you think has happened any breaks

    • If this injury is stilling hurting you after five weeks, then you should speak with a medical professional when you are able. You should not be in pain as long as you have been. It is possible that there is a break or fracture. Do not put any extra stress on your hand. It would be wise for you to make an appoint as soon as possible.

  14. My knuckle on my pinky finger broke I think, cos it was an accident , I bumped my hand on the door , O my I was in so much pain and I didn’t go doctors right away, I waited 3 weeks , I went to X tray so idk what’s going to happen , just waiting for a call

    • It seems as though you have commented twice. Thank you for your enthusiasm. I have commented on your other comment and just wanted to let you know under this post to let you know where you can find your comment. Have a great day and thank you for reading!

  15. I think my knuckle is broken , I didn’t go X tray right I waited 3 weeks and went Monday July 11 to get it checked out

    • If you had an x ray with a medical professional on the eleventh, then you should speak with them about seeing your records. They should have them available for you. For now, you should treat your hand tenderly and do not exert any additional pressures on it.

  16. o don’t have a comment but I punched a metal fence tht had little holes that you will usually see at schools I was mad one day and punched really hard it had left little the little dot marks on my hand but when I ever touch my knuckle its feels like it’s sore but I don’t really no cause it has been hurting for at least 6 – 10 days and don’t know if it’s broken or not. Can some one plz reply if my hand is okay or not !

    • Nicolas, it is possible that you have caused some internal damage since you punched a metal fence. If the pain remains after a few more days, then perhaps speak with a doctor or another member of your family who may have experienced similar pain. If I may suggest, refrain from punching objects in result of your anger. Instead, look inward and observe your body’s reaction to your emotions.