What causes finger dislocation?

Finger Dislocation
If your finger dislocation is not severe, the doctor can immediately fix your finger dislocation by externally manipulating and putting your bone back in its original position.

Forceful injury to any of the joints of the fingers can result in finger dislocation. Finger dislocation is the shifting of a bone away from its original position resulting in the misalignment of the joint.

Your finger (except for your thumb) is made up of three joints that allow it to bend forward, downward and sideways. These joints are:

  • Distal interphalangeal joints: located closest to the fingernails
  • Proximal interphalangeal joints: the middle joints of the fingers
  • Metacarpophalangeal joints: located where the fingers meet the rest of your hand (knuckles)

Finger dislocations are usually caused by bending the finger backward beyond its normal range. They are the most common type of hand injuries that happen in athletes of football and basketball while catching or blocking the fast-moving ball. 

Though finger dislocation is not a medical emergency but delaying its treatment might increase the swelling in the finger making the treatment difficult.

What are the signs and symptoms of finger dislocation?

  • Moving the dislocated finger is extremely painful.
  • A dislocated finger is crooked and swollen. 
  • There may a bruise or cut on the dislocated finger. 
  • The dislocated finger may feel abnormally loose or unstable.

How is a finger dislocation diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about how you injured your finger. He will look for the signs and symptoms of a dislocated finger, and if he suspects finger dislocation, he will order an X-ray of your injured finger.

A finger dislocation is usually confirmed on X-ray, but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your finger may also be needed if your doctor also suspects injury to the finger joint’s adjacent structures like nerves.

What is the reduction of finger dislocation procedure?

If your finger dislocation is not severe, the doctor can immediately fix your finger dislocation by externally manipulating and putting your bone back in its original position. This is known as a closed reduction. Before they do this, you might get a local anesthetic medication to numb your finger.

During the procedure, the doctor will gently restore your finger to its correct position by gently pushing or pulling it. The doctor will do another X-ray to confirm the success of the reduction procedure.

A splint will be wrapped around your affected finger or taping of your affected finger will be done to its adjacent finger to secure the alignment. You need to wear the splint/tape for three to six weeks. 

If your finger dislocation is severe that it cannot be manipulated externally, your dislocated finger may need to be repaired surgically. The same reduction will be performed by opening your finger surgically, and the procedure is known as open reduction. 

What is done before the reduction of finger dislocation?

  • If you have an open fracture in the dislocated finger, you will be put on antibiotics and given a tetanus vaccine.

How long does it take to recover from finger dislocation?

  • You can return to your sport once your doctor has confirmed that your dislocated finger joint is now stable.
  • Recovery from a surgery like closed reduction usually takes at least four to six weeks before you can return to your sport.
  • You might also require physical or occupational therapy to strengthen your affected joint and help you recover faster.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/15/2020
References
Reference:

Reduction of Finger Dislocation. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/109206

Finger dislocation. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/finger-dislocation#1

Finger dislocation. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/finger-dislocation-a-to-z
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