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Finger Dislocation (Dislocated Finger)

Finger dislocation is a condition in which there is displacement of a finger bone from its normal attachment in a joint. It can occur during fall accidents wherein the fingers are forcefully pushed beyond its normal range. It can also result from playing ball games wherein the ball hits the tips of the fingers. Sometimes, dislocation may result from your finger getting stuck in objects, such as helmets or nets.

Dislocation of the finger may also involve other supporting joint structures, such as ligaments. A stretched or torn ligament is called a sprain.


When dislocation occurs, pain and swelling usually occurs immediately. The person may see a misalignment or the finger looks crooked. And in most cases, there is difficulty of bending or straightening the joint.


To diagnose a dislocated finger, the doctor will perform a physical examination and would probably recommend an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. X-ray would also reveal if there is a break in any of the bones.


First aid treatment for finger dislocation includes stopping the activity and applying ice for 20 minutes at a time to help relieve pain and decrease swelling. Seek medical help immediately.

If dislocated finger is confirmed, the doctor will re-align the dislocated bones and would likely advise protective splinting for several weeks to allow healing. Ice application and elevating the involved limb above the level of the heart will help control swelling.

Physical therapy will likely be recommended to help you return to your sports activity safely. Splinting or taping will help immobilize the injured finger during its healing. Your therapist will teach you exercises that you can perform to keep the other uninjured fingers moving to prevent joint stiffness.

After the joint has healed, your physical therapist will help you achieve normal joint finger motion by making use of therapeutic exercises that you can also perform at home.

Suggested Readings

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Conditions / Injuries | Physical Therapy | Health and Wellness

Dislocations. National Library of Medicine, Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dislocations.html. Accessed on August 29, 2010

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