• Finger dislocation


    Finger dislocation is an injury to any finger joint where the bones are displaced from their normal position and no longer touch each other. Fractures often occur with finger dislocations, but ligament sprains must occur for these injuries to occur. Finger dislocations are a common problem for athletes.

    Common signs and symptoms

    • Severe pain at the time of injury and when attempting to move the injured finger
    • Loss of function of the dislocated joint
    • Tenderness, obvious deformity, swelling and bruising at the injury site
    • Numbness or paralysis below the dislocation from pinching, cutting or pressure on the blood vessels or nerves (uncommon)


    After immediate reduction (repositioning of the bones of the joint) by trained medical personnel, treatment usually consists of ice to relieve pain. Although reduction can be performed without surgery, surgery is occasionally necessary to restore the joint to its normal position if a tendon, bone chips, or another structure prevents repositioning or to repair ligaments and tendons. Elevating the injured finger at or above heart level helps reduce swelling. Immobilization by splinting, casting, or bracing for 2 to 6 weeks is usually recommended to protect the joint while the ligaments heal.

    After immobilization, stretching and strengthening of the injured and weakened joint and surrounding muscles (due to the injury and the immobilization) are necessary. These may be done with or without the assistance of an occupational or physical therapist or athletic trainer. Use of taping may be recommended when returning to sports.

    More on sports related injuries