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Friday, March 7, 2014
Question: I am a high school soccer goalkeeper. I landed on my left hand during a dive and bent my left pinky finger under most of my weight. I had xrays 2 days ago that showed no break. There is no improvement in the swelling- my pinky is bigger than my thumb, and the all of the joint knuckles have bruised rings around them, and so does where my ring finger attaches to the palm. Should I be worried about a different injury besides a break?
Normal X-rays, performed soon after an injury, do not completely rule out a fracture. (broken bone) A fracture may be small or subtle, and suboptimal X-rays could be a bit blurry, or too dark or too light, or may not have included the best angle to demonstrate a fracture.
However, if your X-rays were high quality and included appropriate "views", a fracture would be less likely, and a sprain (injury to ligaments) and/or cartilage injury (neither of which would show up on X-rays) would be more likely.
If you've not already done so, you should be examined by a sports medicine physician or hand specialist to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment, to maximize your chances of a full recovery.
Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University