Intra-articular Phalangeal Fractures

  • Helen Shi
  • Kevin J. Little
Living reference work entry


A 12-year-old female suffered an intra-articular fracture of the phalangeal head. This fracture is often caused by shearing or torsional forces to the interphalangeal joint sustained during ball handling sports. This fracture may also be seen as a result of falls, crush injuries, or direct blows. These fractures may appear nondisplaced initially, but will frequently displace over time without surgical intervention, and close follow-up is necessary in patients treated nonsurgically. Surgical intervention for displaced condylar fractures typically involves either closed reduction and percutaneous pinning using Kirschner wires (K-wires), or open reduction and internal fixation using lag screws or K-wires. Early active motion after surgery should be established if possible to minimize stiffness and retain range of motion in the injured joint. Fracture healing occurred in 4 weeks, and she regained full motion at 6 weeks postoperatively with a home exercise program.

References and Suggested Reading

  1. Bergeron L, Gagnon I, L’Ecuyer C, Caouette-Laberge L (2005) Treatment outcomes of unstable proximal phalangeal head fractures of the finger in children. Ann Plast Surg 54(1):28–32CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Blazar P, Steinberg D (2000) Fractures of the proximal interphalangeal joint. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 8:383–390CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Freeland A, Sud V (2001) Unicondylar and bicondylar proximal phalangeal fractures. J Am Soc Surg Hand 1(1):14–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Weiss A, Hastings H (1993) Distal unicondylar fractures of the proximal phalanx. J Hand Surg 18(4):594–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity CenterCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Ty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryNemours: Alfred I. duPont Hospital for ChildrenWilmingtonUSA

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