Dislocated Finger

What Is A Dislocated Finger? A dislocated finger is a displacement of the bones of the finger from their normal position.

How Does It Occur? A dislocated finger usually occurs when there is an accident such as a ball striking the tips of the finger or a person falling forcefully onto a finger or getting a finger hooked into a piece of equipment like a football mask or a basketball net.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Dislocated Finger? In a dislocated finger there is immediate pain and swelling. The finger looks swollen and crooked. You will usually be unable to bend or straighten the dislocated joint.

How Is It Diagnosed? Your doctor will examine your finger. An x-ray will be taken to confirm the dislocation and to determine if there is also a break in your finger.

How Is A Dislocated Finger Treated? Your doctor will realign the dislocated bones. Your finger will be placed in a protective splint for several weeks.  Your finger will most likely be swollen after the dislocation. You should apply ice packs to your finger for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 or 3 days or until pain goes away. Your hand should be elevated on a pillow while you are lying down or on the back of a chair or couch while you are sitting. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. You will be given exercises to strengthen your finger during the healing process.

When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your activity is determined by how soon your finger recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred.

Your doctor will recommend that your dislocated finger be splinted or "buddy taped" (taped to the finger next to it) 3 to 6 weeks after your injury. In many cases, you will be able to return to your sport or activity as long as you are wearing your finger splint or have your finger taped.  Your finger may remain swollen with decreased range of motion and strength for many weeks. It is important to continue your rehabilitation exercises during this time and even after you return to your sport or activity.

How Can I Prevent A Dislocated Finger? Finger dislocations are usually the result of accidents that are not preventable. However, whenever possible you should try to avoid getting your finger stuck in objects such as helmets, nets, or athletic jerseys.

Finger Dislocation Rehabilitation Exercises: You may do all of these exercises right away.

  1. Passive range of motion: Gently assist the injured joint by helping to bend it with your other hand. Gently try to straighten out the injured joint with your other hand. Repeat slowly, holding for 5 seconds at the end of each motion. Do this 10 times. Do these exercises 3 to 5 times per day.
  2. Finger lift: With your palm flat on a table and your fingers straight, lift each finger up individually and hold 5 seconds. Then put it down and lift the one next to it until you have done all 5 fingers individually. Hold each one 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
  3. Fist making: Make your hand into a fist. If the injured finger will not bend into the fist, assist it with your uninjured hand and try to help it bend into the fist. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Object pick-up: Practice picking up small objects such as coins, marbles, pins, or buttons with the injured finger and the thumb.

All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.

What Is A Dislocated Finger? A dislocated finger is a displacement of the bones of the finger from their normal

Dislocated Finger

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