Kids, I can feel the spring coming up in my finger.
May 5, 2010 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I fractured my right index finger about 9 months ago when a table-saw kicked a small square of plywood at high velocity into the end of the 'metacarpal' near the first joint. I taped it up and after about six weeks it felt basically normal. It is straight and I have full mobility however, with the coming of spring, it has started to ache, sometimes distractlingly so... so what's going on?
posted by to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I broke my leg when I was 11 years old and it often aches when a strong cold or warm front comes through (so, then, pretty often in the springtime). I refer to it as "my arthritis" but I don't know if that's medically accurate; I've just assumed it's a common side effect from a broken bone.

If it's aching to the point of being actually painful I'd probably go for an x-ray to make sure it healed up properly, though.
posted by something something at 9:01 AM on May 5, 2010

Is an X-ray in the cards? You may have bone chips or something else going on with the joint, and the change in seasons might be coincidental.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:04 AM on May 5, 2010

IANAD but when I shattered the joint of one finger the hand surgeon who worked miracles on getting me my movement back kept reminding me that once you break a joint you automatically have arthritis in it forever and ever.

I (personally) wouldn't go to a doctor unless the pain was unbearable or the movement started to be a problem, but I might call a nurse's line on the back of my insurance card.
posted by citywolf at 9:16 AM on May 5, 2010

Seconding that you have an orthopedist look at it. Large practices (the ones I've been to seem to be sports-med oriented) will even have specialists for knees, hand/wrists, and so on.
posted by jquinby at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2010

Anecdata: I smacked the back of my thumb hard against ice in the late '80s. Like you, no mobility loss, and it healed fine, but would give me a dull ache with changes in the weather for a couple-three years after. No issues since.
posted by Opposite George at 10:04 AM on May 5, 2010

I have perpetual knee problems from too much running, and I know exactly what you mean. My knees [the right one in particular] ache something fierce when the weather changes. As mentioned above, it seems to have to do with the pressure changes associated with warm and cold fronts. Also thunderstorms.
posted by alynnk at 10:26 AM on May 5, 2010

I badly broke my left arm as a kid; ever since then, I get weird aches and pains during times when the weather is drastically changing.
posted by kataclysm at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2010

Yet another data point, I destroyed my left ankle when I was 14... I'm now 28, and I can still predict weather based on the pain in that ankle. I think once you've broken something, the pressure changes will always have an effect. nthing that you should see a doctor if the pain is unbearable or motion is hindered.
posted by frwagon at 12:14 PM on May 5, 2010

IANAD, IANYD. That said, I have broken enough bones, patched up enough bones for others as a firefighter/EMT to say, "Welcome to our world!" When you break a bone you also damage all of the stuff around it. This includes muscle, tendons, nerves and so on..... It takes a long time for these things to fully heal; sometimes it is years or decades. You have different tissues and nerves fighting for space in a newly configured inner finger. I have a surgically reconstructed finger that cannot feel pain, but is extremely sensitive to warm and cold. YMMV.

My suggestion, since you have had an uneventful nine months, is to ignore it. After all, that's what you've been doing up to now, right? If the pain becomes an infringement upon your daily life or it becomes intolerable even periodically, see an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in hands. Nothing beyond the wrist. The hand is a special mechanism and is unlike other parts of the body.

If surgery is suggested for any reason, get a second opinion. Sometimes the fix is worse than the problem.

Otherwise, like I used to tell the members of my soccer team, run it off until you fall down.
posted by Old Geezer at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2010

I broke my collarbone when I was nearly 14 years old. It snapped in two and couldn't be pulled back into place for it to heal in its original position. It healed wonderfully and quickly anyways, despite a lump where the bone on one side overlapped the other.

After breaking the collarbone, I realized my whole shoulder would ache on occasion. My grandmothers, both with arthritis, would complain about how it was going to rain and they knew because their "knees told [them]". And it dawned on me that the ache I was feeling in my shoulder was due to whatever it was that made people's arthritis act up. Near as I can figure, it's changes in barometric pressure, although you probably don't want to quote me on that.

I was 27 or 28 before I realized that I no longer felt an ache in my shoulder/collarbone when it was going to rain, so that was about 14 years of aching in my shoulder whenever the pressure changed substantially. I'm pretty relieved it doesn't happen anymore!

In short, I think your aching is more or less normal, but, as most others have said here, if it interferes with your life or the pain is really significant, go see your family doctor and you may need to ask for a referral to a specialist.
posted by juliebug at 1:35 AM on May 6, 2010

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