Also, people who work with their hands, such as athletes and manual laborers, have an increased risk of broken fingers.
Sports that increase risk for broken fingers are:. Your finger might also look misshapen or out of alignment deformed. Broken fingers may be very painful, especially when you try to move them, but sometimes the discomfort is dull and tolerable. Diagnosis of finger fracture begins with your doctor taking your medical history and doing a physical examination. X-rays of the finger will usually indicate whether your finger is fractured. Taping the fractured finger to an adjacent intact finger may treat a stable fracture.
Unstable fractures require immobilization. After your doctor aligns the fracture, or reduces it, they can apply a splint. If your fracture is unstable or displaced, your doctor may need to perform surgery.
When Should You Be Concerned About Osteoporosis? The Answer Will Surprise You.
Surgery stabilizes the fracture when you have:. An orthopedic surgeon or hand surgeon will determine the best treatment approach for a complicated fracture. Pins, screws, and wires are useful in surgical procedures for broken fingers. Proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of broken fingers help to preserve hand function and strength and prevent deformities. The recovery time for a broken finger maybe as short as a few weeks or up to a year, depending upon multiple factors. A proper diet with adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium can help keep your bones healthy and less prone to fracture.
People who have difficulty walking and are likely to fall can do physical therapy and use assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, to help them move around safely. Athletes and laborers should exercise caution to prevent finger fractures. Identifying your triggers can take some time and self-reflection.
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And in the elderly, almost all the marrow has turned to fat. Clifford J. But recently, more scientists have been asking whether something else may be involved. They have discovered that there is a stem cell in bone marrow that can turn into fat or bone depending on what signals it receives. In osteoporosis, bone cavities that everyone thought were just empty spaces are actually crammed with fat. Patients with osteoporosis have more fat in their bones than people the same age who do not have the bone weakening disease. And other factors that lead to bone loss -- steroids taken to suppress the immune system, bed rest, removal of a woman's ovaries -- also lead to an accumulation of fat in the bones, scientists have found.
Jane E. Aubin of the University of Toronto. And that, Dr. Aubin said, led to an intriguing question: could osteoporosis be prevented or reversed by pushing stem cells to become bone instead of fat? In humans, studies using M.
Osteoporosis: A quick update | Clinician Reviews
Instead of scattered autopsy results, the scanning studies can look at entire populations of different ages and can include people with osteoporosis and those free of it. The results have been surprising, Dr. Rosen said. Even healthy young people had fat in cavities of their bones that doctors had thought were fat-free. But people with osteoporosis had more fat than people the same age who did not have the disease.
That still leaves a question about the fat, Dr. Rosen says. We don't know," he said. For now, cautions Dr. Gimble, while it is intriguing to think that the high levels of fat in bone may be as much a sign of bone weakness and deterioration as low bone density, that notion is still very much a hypothesis. Other explanations include the possibility that the fat is needed to strengthen bone.
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The marrow cells in question cling to narrow fibrous bands inside the bone. The bone itself is a hard hollow shell. So what goes inside the cavities formed by those interior fibers -- mostly empty space or some sort of filler to strengthen the bone? Gimble said. You have to fill it with something. Another possibility is that fat accumulates in bone for energy storage. Gimble added. In the meantime, scientists are trying to find out what signals drive bone marrow cells along a pathway to become fat or bone.
They also are asking whether once cells turn into fat, it is possible to reverse the process and convert them to bone instead. Laboratory studies took advantage of one basic fact about stem cells. When they are growing in petri dishes they do not remain stem cells for long. These immature cells quickly start to develop into whatever their genetic programs and the biochemical soup they are grown in directs them to become. In the case of bone marrow stem cells, the cells seemed not to have a preference: they were equally likely to turn into fat or bone.
But if scientists added glucocorticoids, the drugs known to cause bone loss, the cells turned into fat.
And if they added vitamin D3, which is needed to form bone, the cells turned into bone. Another way to drive bone marrow stem cells to turn into fat in the laboratory is to activate a protein, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, or P. View all New York Times newsletters. The protein controls the activity of a variety of genes, and activating it also helps control diabetes because it makes the fat and muscle cells more sensitive to insulin. Scientists blocked P. That led Dr.
Beata Lecka-Czernik of the University of Arkansas Medical Center to ask what would happen if she activated the same enzyme in mice. She fed them rosiglitazone, one of the thiazolidinediones, and they ended up with triple the amount of fat in their bones as untreated mice. Their bone density was 10 percent lower. And their bones became riddled with holes. The drugs are also known to make people gain weight, said Dr.
It is not yet known whether the thiazolidinediones weaken the bones of diabetes patients, and researchers urge caution.