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Finger Dislocation

(Dislocated finger; Dislocation, Finger)

Definition

A finger dislocation is when a bone in the finger joint moves out of its normal place.

Dislocated Finger
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Causes

This injury is caused by trauma from:

  • A force that jams the end of the finger
  • Forcefully twisting or bending the finger
  • Forcefully bending the finger backwards

Risk Factors

Playing contact sports may raise your chance of this injury.

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Pain
  • A change in the way the finger looks
  • Problems moving the finger

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked how the injury happened. An exam will be done that will focus on your finger.

Images may be needed of the injury. This can be done with an x-ray.

Treatment

It may take up to 6 weeks to recover. It depends on which finger was injured and how severe it was. The goals of treatment are to put the bones of the finger back into place and to promote healing.

The bones can be put back in place:

  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to decrease pain while the doctor puts the bones back into place
  • With surgery (rare)—an incision will be made to put the bones back into place and to repair any damaged ligaments

Other treatment may include:

  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling
  • Home care, such as applying ice packs and keeping the hand raised
  • Providing support, such as taping the finger to a nearby healthy finger or wearing a splint
  • Physical therapy to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Prevention

This injury is due to an accident. It cannot be prevented.

RESOURCES:

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://whenithurtstomove.org

REFERENCES:

Digit dislocation and reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/digit-dislocation-and-reduction. Accessed February 18, 2021.

Dislocation. University of Minnesota medical Center website. Available at: https://www.mhealth.org/care/conditions/dislocation. Accessed February 18, 2021.

Miller EA, Friedrich JB. Management of Finger Joint Dislocation and Fracture-Dislocations in Athletes. Clin Sports Med. 2020 Apr;39(2):423-442.

Overview of dislocations. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/dislocations/overview-of-dislocations. Accessed February 18, 2021.

Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM  Last Updated: 2/19/2021