Dislocated Finger: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and More

Every finger has 3 joints. The thumb has two joints. These joints allow our fingers to flex and correct. When any 2 bones are forced out of place at the joint, such as by a traumatic sports injury or a fall, the finger becomes dislocated. When a finger is dislocated, the bones are no longer together and are out of positioning with the joint. The most typical joint to experience dislocation is the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. This is the middle joint of the finger.


You may have a dislocated finger if:

  • your finger joint looks misaligned or misshapen
  • your finger bone appears removed, such as sticking out to one side
  • you have swelling and bruising around the joint
  • you have pain around the joint
  • you are unable to move your finger


Numerous dislocated fingers are brought on by sports injuries, particularly sports played with a ball, such as football, basketball, and volleyball. Falls and accidents are other leading causes.

Sports Injuries

In one research study taking a look at upper extremity injuries amongst National Football League (NFL) players, researchers found that 17 percent were PIP dislocations. That’s because when you’re trying to catch or obstruct a ball, a finger can quickly get “jammed.” This happens when the ball strikes an outstretched finger with such force it hyperextends it backward, pushing the bones away from the joint.


A dislocated finger can likewise occur when you put out your hand to break a fall. The effect from the fall can press your fingers beyond their regular range of motion and out of their joints.


A crushing blow to a finger, like closing a door on your finger, can also cause bones to separate from the joint.


Some people are born with weak ligaments. Ligaments are tissues that connect bones at the joint and supply structural assistance.

Is It a Medical Emergency?

You should seek medical attention if you suspect a dislocated finger. When you dislocate a finger, your finger may likewise be sprained or broken. Sprains and breaks share comparable signs to dislocation, so it can be tough to determine which injury you have without looking for aid.

Delaying treatment or trying to detect and deal with the finger yourself can lead to long-term loss of mobility and joint tightness.


Even if your doctor believes your finger is dislocated by looking at it and speaking with you about your symptoms, you may still need an X-ray to dismiss damaged or fractured bones.


Immediately after a dislocation, avoid popping the finger back into the joint yourself. You could hurt underlying structures, often permanently, like:

  • blood vessels
  • tendons
  • nerves
  • ligaments

Instead, ice your hurt finger and keep it stable. To ice, cover ice in a towel or use an ice pack. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.

Do not drink or consume anything in case surgery is needed.

You should get medical help right away. Here are some things a qualified medical professional might do:


Reduction is the medical term for repositioning the bone into its proper location.

You may be given an anesthetic to numb your discomfort during the procedure. Your doctor will push versus the bone to free it if a piece is still wedged into the joint, and after that pull the finger outside to get the bones back in place.


Once your bone has been rearranged, your doctor will splint it to keep it stable. A splint avoids you from moving and potentially reinjuring your finger. You’ll likely require to keep the splint in place for a couple of days to a number of weeks, depending on the intensity of your injury.

Buddy Tape

In addition to a splint, or sometimes instead of a splint, your doctor may use medical tape to bind your injured finger to an unscathed one next to it. This method adds more assistance to the dislocated finger and might allow early motion to prevent joint tightness and loss of motion.


In many cases, you might require surgery to reposition the bones and repair any fractures or torn ligaments. Surgical treatment is normally just used when reduction fails to stabilize the joint, or if you have made complex breaks and fractures.


Physical treatment or occupational treatment might be prescribed when the finger has recovered enough to remove the splint. A trained physical therapist will guide you through exercises. Your physiotherapist might also use heat and massage treatments to help reduce stiffness and increase movement in the joint.

You can normally go back to your regular activities, including sports, within a couple of weeks following your injury. But it can take up to six months for your finger to totally heal. Sometimes, particularly when the dislocation is accompanied by a serious break or medical treatment is not timely, pain and stiffness can be long lasting and even permanent.


The majority of people will recuperate from a dislocated finger with no permanent results. Nevertheless, your finger may be most likely to end up being dislocated again in the future, so it’s important to practice prevention.

  • Constantly use correct sporting devices, and, if possible, splint your finger to protect it from another injury when you’re playing sports.
  • Carry out the hand exercises your doctor or physiotherapist has given you to promote movement.
  • Don’t walk if you feel unsteady, and eliminate tripping risks from your floors to decrease your threat for falls.

Keep in mind, if you presume a dislocation in your finger, you need to seek prompt medical treatment.

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