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Finger Dislocation

Definition:

A finger dislocation occurs when the bones that normally fit are no longer in proper anatomic alignment, which often also implies stretching or damage to associated ligaments/tendons. Dislocation can happen in any of the joints in any of the fingers.

Causes:
A dislocated finger is usually caused by:

  • A jamming force applied to the end of the finger
  • Finger being forcefully twisted or bent
  • Finger being overextended
Risk Factors:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition, or injury.

Risk factors include:

  • Contact sports
  • Previous finger dislocation or sprain
  • Catching a ball on the tip of the finger
Symptoms:
Symptoms include:
  • Severe pain
  • Crooked or awkwardly bent finger
  • Swelling and bruising in the injured area
  • Numbness and/or tingling of the finger
  • Inability to bend or straighten the finger
Diagnosis:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred, and examine the injured finger.

Tests may include:

  • X-ray–to confirm the dislocation and to see if there are any broken bones
Treatment:
Do not try to put your finger bones back into place. Seek medical care immediately. Delaying treatment increases the chance of permanent damage to the joint.

Treatment includes:

Realigning the Bones–The doctor will move the finger bones back into place. You may be given an injection of local anesthesia that will help reduce the pain while the doctor moves the bones.

Splint or Taping–After the doctor has realigned the bones, your finger will be placed in a splint or taped to the healthy finger next to it. In certain situations a cast or surgery may be recommended.

Ice–Apply ice or a cold pack to your finger for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for several days. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.

Elevation–Try to hold the injured hand above the level of your heart as much as possible for the first several days or until the swelling goes down. (For example, up on a pillow). This will help drain fluid and reduce swelling.

Rehabilitation Exercises–Begin exercises to restore range of motion and strength in your finger as recommended by your healthcare professional.

Prevention:
To help prevent a finger dislocation:
  • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or physical activities.
  • Do not break a fall with an outstretched arm.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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