Authors of section


Fiesky Nuñez, Renato Fricker, Matej Kastelec, Terry Axelrod

Executive Editor

Chris Colton

Shaft, transverse


Fractures of the diaphysis can be transverse, oblique, spiral, or comminuted. Reduction is achieved by traction and digital manipulation. When the fracture is stable, it can be treated nonoperatively.
If the fracture is irreducible, ORIF is indicated.
Other indications for surgical fixation are open fractures, or associated soft-tissue lacerations.
Outcome of fractures of the middle phalanx is usually more favourable that those of the proximal phalanx. This is largely due to the fact that limitations in DIP joint motion is not such a disability as similar stiffness of the PIP and MCP joints.

However, since the fragments in middle phalangeal fractures are generally smaller than in the proximal phalanx, fixation can be more challenging.


K-wire fixation

Percutaneous K-wire fixation is often used for transverse fractures of the middle phalangeal diaphysis.

The advantages are:

  • technical ease
  • minimal soft-tissue lesion
  • low cost
  • universal availability

However, there are some disadvantages which can sometimes be significant, such as:

  • less stable fixation
  • no interfragmentary compression
  • may separate the fragments
  • delayed mobilization
  • may irritate the overlying skin

shaft transverse
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