What it is, and how hand therapy can help
dislocation is an injury to the joint of the the finger bones where the joint
separates and bones moved apart, causing malalignments of bones of a normal
joint. Usually, dislocations in finger joints happen when the finger is bent
backwards or side wards beyond its normal range of motion.
medical terms of the bones of the finger is known as phalanges. The bones in
the hand before the finger is termed as metacarpal bones. Every knuckle of the
hands and fingers are connected by a joint between each of these two bones, and
worse - every joint can be dislocated in an injury:
- Distal interphalangeal
(DIPJ) are in the finger knuckles closest to the fingernails. Most
dislocations in these joints are caused by trauma, and often an open
wound in the location of the dislocation.
- Proximal interphalangeal
(PIPJ) are the middle joints of the fingers. A dislocation in one of these
joints is also known as a jammed finger or coach's finger. It is the most
frequent hand injury in athletes, and it is especially common among those
who play ball-handling sports, such as football, basketball and water
polo. In most cases, the dislocation happens because the fingers are bent
backward when an athlete tries to catch a ball or block a shot. Proximal
interphalangeal joint dislocations also can happen when an athlete's
fingers are hooked awkwardly such as in rugby, twisted or bent by an
opponent, especially when two athletes wrestle or grab for control of a
- Metacarpophalangeal joints (MCPJ) are in the knuckles,
located where the hand joins to the fingers. These joints connect the
metacarpal bones in the palm with the first row of phalanges in the
finger. Because these joints are very stable, metacarpophalangeal joint
dislocations are less common than the other two types. When
metacarpophalangeal dislocations do occur, they are usually dislocations
of either the index finger or little finger (pinky).
Symptoms of Finger Dislocation
dislocated finger is crooked, painful and swollen, and its surface skin may be
cut, scraped or bruised. If a dislocated finger has been straightened on the
playing field, it may feel abnormally loose, weak or unstable afterward.Usually
pain will set in after the adrenaline wear off, following which stiffness and
tightness sets in, resulting in a stiff finger.
doctor will suspect that your finger is dislocated if it appears deformed. In
some cases, your doctor may order an X-ray of the finger to rule out the
presence of fractures. When a finger bone is pulled away from connected
tendons, it is common for a fragment of bone to separate from the main bone and
stay with the tendon, a condition known as an avulsion fracture.
you can return to your sport once your dislocated finger has been realigned,
following a confirmation from your doctor that the injured joint is stable with
no presence of bone fracture, and your finger tenderness and
swelling have improved. For a few weeks, you will need to wear a customized finger splint or buddy tape, which is used to
strap the injured finger to an uninjured finger nearby for support.
need surgery to repair your dislocated finger, it usually takes at least six to
ten weeks for soft tissue to heal before you can return to your sport.Soft
tissues will require four to six weeks to heal and stabilize, and from week two
to three onwards, you need to start hand therapy to manage and prevent
your dislocated finger has been treated, you often can prevent it from being
injured again by using a protective splint, taping it to another finger or, in
some cases, using a cast. I often encourage customized splinting instead of casting, as casts are
heavy, itchy, permanent and can be ill-fitting when the swelling has subsided.
dislocated finger can be corrected with or without injecting local anesthesia
(sometimes adrenaline is enough to block off pain). To correct the dislocation,
the doctor will press against the displaced bone to dislodge the bone if it is
caught against the side of the joint. As the end of the bone is freed, the
doctor can pull outward to restore the bone to its correct position (termed as
closed reduction). Once your finger joint is back in its normal position, you
will wear a splint or tape the finger to another finger for three to six weeks,
depending on the specific type of your dislocation.
doctor cannot straighten your finger using closed reduction or if your injured
joint is not stable after closed reduction, your dislocated finger may need to
be repaired surgically. Surgery is also used to treat finger dislocations that
are complicated by large fractures or fractures that involves the joint.
Should You Call a Professional?
should call your doctor immediately if you injure your finger and your finger
is crooked, deformed, painful or swollen. If you are an athlete and someone
straightens your injured finger on the playing field, check with your doctor or
your on-site physiotherapist to make sure that the injured joint is stable and
not fractured. A dislocated joint that has an open wound should not be moved.
It should be carefully splinted and evaluated immediately by a physician.
recovery and rehabilitation for following finger dislocation is usually good,
though it will likely take about six months for your finger pain to resolve.
Often, there will be permanent swelling around the injured joint, and
especially in an injured proximal interphalangeal finger joint.
Therapy for Finger Dislocation
biggest challenge following a finger dislocation is decreased range of motion
and stiffness. Regular and early hand therapy, which will include heat therapy to soften stiff structures, exercise therapy to strengthen weakened muscles,
scar management to decrease scarring, customized splinting to keep the injured joint
aligned, and ultimately restore your joint to full movement and function.
Where to next?
- Make A Physiotherapy, Hand Therapy or Deep Tissue Release Singapore Appointment
- Arrange A CallBack or Make An E-Enquiry Here
- See the list of physiotherapy conditions we treat
- See the list of orthopedic surgeons we serve in Singapore
- Return to Urbanrehab's Physiotherapy, Hand Therapy and Sports Massage Singapore Home Page from our finger dislocation page
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Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
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Initially, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
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exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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We are a wholly Singapore Private Limited group of licensed physiotherapists, hand therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, clinical pilates practitioners and TCM physicians practicing in our scope of rehabilitation and its areas of specializations.
As listed in our website are the list of services we provide our clients as referred by their medical doctors or by self referrals/word of mouth, but you can also make an appointment without seeing any doctors (that being said, if you do need a referral to a specialist orthopedic surgeon or sports GP, we will recommend you too as value added service at no additional costs to you).
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