What to do about a dislocated finger


A dislocated finger is a fairly common problem, but it’s also a very painful one.  Finger dislocation happens when the finger bones are pulled or pushed out of their usual position within their joints.  It’s possible to dislocate any of the finger bones from any of their joints, although the most common form of finger dislocation injury happens in the knuckle area.

Causes of a dislocated finger


The most common cause of finger dislocation is sports accidents, and any sport which involves pushing, pulling, or jamming the fingers or the hand is a prime place for the injury to occur.  It’s also very common for fingers to get stuck in places they shouldn’t be in, like inside a machine or in a knotted rope that’s being let down off of a boat.  Surprisingly, people also tend to dislocate their finger by simply falling down and trying to catch their fall a bit with their hand.


How to tell if you have a dislocated finger


Finger dislocation can appear much like a broken finger in some ways, although there are a few ways to tell the difference between a finger that is dislocated and one that is broken.  Like a broken finger, the finger that is dislocated will be swollen, crooked, and extremely painful.  It also may be bent at an odd angle that you wouldn’t normally see your finger in.  Also like a broken finger, you won’t be able to move the finger if it is dislocated.  The most obvious way to tell the difference between a finger that is dislocated and one that is broken is by looking where the center of the injury is.  If it’s based in the joint, then most likely the finger is dislocated.  However, if it looks and feels as if the bones of the finger are loose and broken in some other part of the finger, then the problem is likely a broken bone in the finger.


Treatment for finger dislocation


Before you get in to see a doctor, you may want to put an ice pack on the figure to help numb some of the pain and bring the swelling down.  Also make sure you remove any rings on that hand, as they can restrict blood flow to a finger that already is seriously injured. 


A finger that is dislocated does require immediate medical attention, so don’t waste any time getting to a doctor immediately.  Doctors are trained to reset dislocated joints, but this becomes more difficult the longer you wait to seek treatment.  In fact, waiting too long can even prevent doctors from even being able to reset the finger.  A finger that is dislocated should be classified as an emergency, so don’t feel bad about going to the ER.  This is especially important if you lose feeling in your hand or fingers or if the finger feels cold or has a bluish tint to it.


When you get in to see the doctor, he will probably give you a pain injection before resetting the finger.  He will then set the finger in a split to help it heal properly.


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