Small surgery on finger still hurts after 4 months

Posted by maryflorida @maryflorida, May 27, 2022

Is this normal? It was a broken pinky finger and he sawed the broken parts and fused them together, held by a plastic screw. He is very young and I don't know if it is normal to hurt so much after 4 months. Does anyone know. I am a fairly healthy 80, if that makes a difference.

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Hi Mary @maryflorida, I am really sorry to hear you are still having pain 4 months after your pinky finger surgery. I think age does make a difference when it comes to surgery and recovery. It's good that you are fairly healthy. Here's some information on the topic that may help explain…

"What is the outlook for people with a broken finger?
The outlook varies depending on your age and overall health, and the type and severity of the fracture. Finger fractures generally heal very well after treatment, but you may require physical therapy to regain motion.

Recovery time for a finger fracture ranges from several weeks to a year. Healing time depends on the extent of the injury and your treatment. Your provider will let you know when it’s safe to use your hand again. You may need to do rehab exercises each day, often under the guidance of a specialized hand therapist. These exercises can help with swelling and stiffness."
— Broken Finger (Finger Fracture): Symptoms, Diagnosis …: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21784-broken-finger

I know physcial therapy played a major part of my wife's recovery from a broken wrist last fall. Have you discussed the continued pain with the surgeon or your primary care doctor?

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Thank you, John. I did not know it would take so long. That helps to know why I am hurting still.
I contacted the hand surgeon and have not received any answer. I'll keep exercising it. Maybe start up playing the piano again.

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My doctor did a DIP Joint surgery because I had fallen and broken my pinky finger. It has been five months now and is still in constant pain. His solution: get a brace. But the screw he used seems to be too big for my small bones and my finger is swollen and in pain. Is this normal or do I need to have the screw removed? If removal, will the bones crumble with a screw? Please help if any of you have similar experiences.

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@fredflorida

My doctor did a DIP Joint surgery because I had fallen and broken my pinky finger. It has been five months now and is still in constant pain. His solution: get a brace. But the screw he used seems to be too big for my small bones and my finger is swollen and in pain. Is this normal or do I need to have the screw removed? If removal, will the bones crumble with a screw? Please help if any of you have similar experiences.

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Hello @fredflorida. I am sorry to read that you have been dealing with this for 5 months, this has to be troublesome.

You will notice I have moved your post into what I believe is your previous post under a similar but different username, @maryflorida, which you can find here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/small-surgery-on-finger-still-hurts-after-4-months/

I wonder if you'd consider getting a second opinion given the brace didn't seem to work and you're still in pain?

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Thank you for replying yet again. 🙂 I have an appointment in a month with another surgeon, but just don't feel confident anything will help. The finger is swollen and the nail is discolored, and in near constant pain.
I wonder if this is normal healing or if the screw can be removed without my bones crumbling, having no support. Maybe it is because I am never sick that it seems so hard. My husband is often sick, but not me. haha.
I will just keep taking pain meds as necessary I guess until my August 17 appointment.

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@fredflorida

Thank you for replying yet again. 🙂 I have an appointment in a month with another surgeon, but just don't feel confident anything will help. The finger is swollen and the nail is discolored, and in near constant pain.
I wonder if this is normal healing or if the screw can be removed without my bones crumbling, having no support. Maybe it is because I am never sick that it seems so hard. My husband is often sick, but not me. haha.
I will just keep taking pain meds as necessary I guess until my August 17 appointment.

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Hello Mary, I am sorry to hear you are still suffering, but glad to hear that you made a second appointment.
In answer to your question, no this is not normal healing. I have not had this operation, but have had a handful of surgeries on my very arthritic hands. Healing takes a LONG time, swelling has lasted up to a year, but you should probably not be seeing discoloration and having so much pain at 6 months.
When you see the new doc, even if they don't recommend a second surgery, ask for therapy from a certified hand therapist. You may need to become quite firm and assertive and INSIST. They are the best qualified to help you learn to live with whatever the surgical outcome.
Are you comfortable becoming your own advocate?
Sue

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