Dislocated knuckle pinky: How to Fix a Dislocated Finger | University of Utah Health
How to Fix a Dislocated Finger | University of Utah Health
If you injure your finger while playing sports, rock climbing, or gardening, you may be unsure if you’ve sustained serious damage, such as a fracture, sprain, or dislocation. Or maybe you simply overused your hands and need to take a break.
How do I know if I’ve dislocated a finger?
A dislocated finger is usually obvious, says Stephanie Sueoka, DPT, MPT, a hand therapist at University Orthopaedic Center at University of Utah Health. “The finger bones may be bent at strange angles, swollen, and very painful,” she says. “You probably won’t be able to bend or straighten your finger if it is dislocated.”
While dislocated fingers frequently occur with sports-related accidents, this can happen with any injury that causes a “jamming” force to the end of the finger, or by hyperextending the finger beyond its normal range. Either of these situations, or a combination of both, can result in a dislocation. For example, a basketball may strike the tip of an outstretched finger, a finger may get caught in a piece of equipment, or someone may break a fall onto their outstretched hand.
How do I know if I’ve broken a finger?
“While anybody unfamiliar with dislocations might assume they have a broken bone, fractures and dislocations are very different,” says Lana Hutchinson, OT, a hand therapist at University Orthopaedic Center.
A break (or fracture) in a finger bone results in a crack, which must be set to heal. By contrast, a dislocation is not a break in the bone but a separation of two bones where they meet at a joint. Both fractures and dislocations can be quite painful. A hand specialist will evaluate your symptoms and probably take an X-ray to determine which type of injury you have.
What steps should I take to fix a dislocated finger?
A dislocated finger will swell, so it’s essential to immediately remove any jewelry, especially rings. Don’t delay treatment. If you believe you’ve dislocated a finger, take these steps:
- Seek immediate medical help.
- Ice the joint. This will help reduce swelling and control internal bleeding.
- Don’t try to force your finger back into place. This may damage the joint and the surrounding muscles, ligaments, nerves or blood vessels.
Both Sueoka and Hutchinson recommend seeing a hand doctor or other hand specialist for a dislocated finger. “If you go to the ER, you will likely be splinted and will end up with a stiff finger,” Sueoka says. “The worst treatment option is to be positioned in full extension for four to six weeks.”
A hand, orthopedic, or plastics specialist will provide appropriate care promptly. They will refer you to a hand therapist who can provide a range of motion to reduce fluid build-up and maximize your functional outcome.
How long will it take for my dislocated finger to fully heal?
Dislocated finger recovery time varies. You can usually return to normal activities, including sports, within a few weeks following injury. But it can take up to three months for a dislocated pinky, thumb, pointer finger, or ring finger to feel normal—and up to six months for the finger to fully heal.
While most dislocated fingers will return to full function, you may still experience mild discomfort for up to a year after the injury. In rare cases, there might be some ongoing swelling of the injured joint.
By following the advice of hand therapists Sueoka and Hutchinson, you’ll soon be able to resume your favorite activities—maybe with a little more care and caution to avoid another painful finger injury.
Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors
In this Article
- Causes of a Dislocated Finger
- Symptoms of a Dislocated Finger
- When to Seek Medical Care for a Dislocated Finger
- Exams and Tests for a Dislocated Finger
- Finger Dislocation Treatment
- Medical Treatment for a Dislocated Finger
- Follow-up Care for a Dislocated Finger
- How to Prevent a Finger Dislocation
- Outlook for a Dislocated Finger
Finger dislocation is a common injury. It occurs when the bones of the finger are moved (dislocated) from their normal position. A dislocated finger can occur in any of the joints of any finger, but it occurs most often in the middle knuckle of the little, ring, middle, or index finger.
A dislocated finger is caused by a “jamming” force to be applied to the end of the finger, or the finger may be forcefully overextended. Either of these situations or a combination of both, can result in a dislocation. For example:
- During sports activities, a basketball or baseball may strike the tip of an outstretched finger.
- Your finger might get caught in equipment such as a game jersey or pads.
- You might fall onto your outstretched hand.
A dislocated finger is usually obvious. The finger appears crooked, swollen and is very painful. It may be bent upward or at strange angles. You probably won’t be able to bend or straighten the finger if it is dislocated. Also:
- Numbness or tingling with a severe dislocation.
- The injured finger may appear a pale color.
- The dislocation may cause a break in the skin where the injury has occurred. If this occurs, you should get medical attention right away.
When you have a dislocated finger, you should see a doctor at once. Delaying a visit to your doctor for a finger dislocation can make final treatment more difficult and can lead to delayed healing or permanent disability.
Seek medical attention immediately if there is any loss of sensation (numbness), if there are any open areas of skin, or if the finger is cold, pale, or bluish in color.
The doctor will first examine the finger you have injured. They will X-ray the finger to confirm the dislocation and look for any broken bones.
It is not recommended that you treat a finger dislocation at home. A visit to your doctor or the emergency department is usually necessary.
- If you have a dislocated finger, the finger will swell. To prevent further injury to the finger, immediately remove any jewelry, such as rings.
Apply an ice pack to your injured finger and elevate the hand above the level of your heart.
The doctor may realign the dislocated bones of your finger with a simple technique. This will often require a local anesthetic injection into the finger to help decrease or stop the pain and allow the doctor to reduce the dislocation and realign the bones. You may also receive medications by mouth, injection, or IV to help the pain and ease the reduction.
- Your injured finger will then be placed in a protective splint or be “buddy taped” to the healthy finger next to it.
The doctor may get a second x-ray to confirm the realignment of your finger and to check for any broken bones that may not have shown up on the first X-ray.
Apply an ice pack to your dislocated finger for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for the first 2-3 days or until the pain and swelling have subsided. This should lessen the pain and swelling that results from the finger dislocation.
- Elevate your injured finger on several pillows while lying down or on the back of a couch or chair while sitting. This will help reduce swelling and the pain that results.
- The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help control the pain of your injury. Take only as directed by your doctor.
- The doctor may refer you to a bone specialist in the week or so following your injury. The specialist will be able to monitor the healing process of your finger.
- Your finger will be splinted for 3-6 weeks if the healing process goes well.
- The doctor may give you exercises to perform during the healing process, which will help strengthen your finger and reduce the chance of decreased function of your finger.
Finger dislocations are usually the result of an accident and accidents are not always preventable. When possible, however, you should avoid getting your finger stuck in objects such as athletic jerseys, basketball nets, and football helmets.
Wear protective gloves when possible.
Remove rings or other jewelry before participating in athletic events and when working with your hands, particularly around machinery.
Most simple finger dislocations can be put back into place easily. Full function in the injured finger will usually return. Mild or moderate discomfort or disability can continue for 12-18 months. You may expect some permanent swelling or disfigurement of the injured joint. There is an increased risk of developing arthritis in the joint later.
Occasionally, a fragment of the dislocated joint or some surrounding tissue can become lodged between the displaced bones. This prevents the bones from going into place. Surgery may be necessary to put the bones into the correct position. Results of this surgery are usually very good, but some function may be lost.
Tendon injuries also may occur with finger dislocations, such as mallet finger, jersey finger, central slip injury, and volar plate injury. If undiagnosed, these injuries can cause permanent loss of function and/or deformities.
Reduction of dislocation of the phalanx of the finger – Medical Center in Makhachkala “Healer”
Dislocation of the phalanx of the finger is a pathological condition, which is characterized by displacement of the articular surfaces of the bones that form one of the joints of the finger. As a result, the articular surfaces no longer coincide with each other, stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the joint or joint bag occurs. This pathology is considered one of the most common limb injuries. Dislocation of fingers is more often diagnosed.
Types of dislocations of the fingers
Depending on the side of displacement of the articular surfaces, the following types of dislocations of the fingers are distinguished:
Depending on the location, dislocations are distinguished: the main, nail and / or middle phalanx.
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The main cause of dislocations is a strong mechanical impact, which occurs as a result of excessive stress on the palms, when falling with emphasis on the hands. Heavy lifting or direct bruising of the fingers can also lead to dislocation of the phalanx of the finger.
The presence of a dislocation of the finger can be suspected by the following signs:
- sharp pain at the site of injury, aggravated by an attempt to move or by touch;
- unnatural position of the finger;
- swelling, redness of the affected area;
- characteristic crunch in the joint during injury.
Diagnosis of dislocation of the phalanx of the finger
Diagnosis of dislocation is carried out by a traumatologist. To make an accurate diagnosis, an x-ray examination is performed in two projections. Thanks to the X-ray, it is possible to determine the location of the damage, to assess the condition of the surrounding tissues.
The symptoms of a dislocation are similar to those of a broken finger. Therefore, timely examination is necessary for differential diagnosis and determination of further treatment tactics.
First aid for a dislocated finger
If you suspect a dislocated finger, you should immediately go to the nearest emergency room. The sooner such assistance is provided, the lower the risk of complications. In the first minutes after injury, it is recommended:
- carefully remove the injured limb from clothing and jewelry;
- apply cold to the affected area for 15–20 minutes;
- hold the hand in a raised position;
- to secure the joint;
- if there is a wound, treat it with an antiseptic;
- for severe pain, take an analgesic.
Treatment of dislocation of the phalanx of the finger
Depending on the results of the x-ray examination, the treatment of dislocation of the phalanx of the finger can be performed conservatively (closed) and surgically (open) method.
The conservative method is used for dislocation without complications. Due to the pain of the procedure, local anesthesia is preliminarily performed. First, the doctor fixes the forearm of the hand in an elevated position. This is necessary to reduce swelling at the site of injury. Then the injured finger is gently retracted to the side and the tip is pulled in the direction of the axis. You can determine the return of the joint to its normal position by a characteristic click.
When the thumb is repositioned, it is rotated to the ulnar side with simultaneous flexion in the nail phalanx. Next, the joint is immobilized with a plaster splint.
The recovery period after conservative treatment takes about 4-5 weeks.
The surgical method is indicated for tendon entrapment. The operation is performed under local or conduction anesthesia. If there is an infringement of the tendon of the thumb, then during the intervention, the tendon is shifted and the joint is reduced.
In case of dislocation of the remaining fingers, the injured tendon is fixed to the bone with special sutures. After that, the reduction is carried out. The operation ends with the imposition of a plaster splint for a period of 3 weeks.
Reduction of dislocation of fingers in the medical center “Healer” in Makhachkala
The clinic employs highly qualified traumatologists with many years of practical experience. Each patient is given an individual approach, which allows us to make an accurate diagnosis and carry out the necessary treatment as soon as possible. The clinic is equipped with modern expert-class equipment. All services are provided at an affordable price.
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Dislocations of the bones of the hand – symptoms of trauma, first aid and treatment, rehabilitation – Department of Traumatology NCC No. 2 (CCH RAS)
A dislocation is an unnatural condition in which there is a complete displacement of the articular surfaces relative to each other. Dislocations of bones in the wrist joint is less than 5% of the total number of dislocations. These injuries occur in the wrist joint. The wrist joint is: on the upper side – the radius and ulna, and on the lower side – eight small bones of the hand. Eight of these bones, arranged in two rows, create the wrist. To a greater extent, wrist injuries occur with the lunate and scaphoid bones, less often dislocations of other bones of the hand.
Main causes of injury
Dislocations of the hand most often occur as a result of a fall with an emphasis on the hand, with a blow directly to the area of \u200b\u200ba certain joint, and when the permissible load on the wrist is exceeded. No one is safe from dislocation, this damage can happen to anyone and at any time. These injuries should not be taken lightly. This can lead to adverse consequences, such as aseptic necrosis and, as a result, loss of hand functionality.
Symptoms of carpal dislocations
- Sharp pain in the palm and wrist
- Movement in the joint is limited
- Hand puffiness
- Tingling in the fingers, possibly numbness
- Obvious deformity of the damaged joint
- Slow or rapid pulse
Wrist dislocation diagnostics
The victim should immediately seek medical attention from a traumatologist. To make a correct diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe:
- X-ray of the diseased area (X-ray is done in frontal, lateral or three-dimensional projections)
- Surgeon’s consultation if needed
Professionals to contact
Treatment of damage to the wrist involves a set of measures to restore the natural position of the bones.