Finger Dislocation

Finger dislocations are common injuries, especially amongst active sportmen and women. It’s initially alarming and very painful, as the finger is in a very abnormal position. In some cases you might have seen a team-mate pulling the finger back in place on the field. Pulling the finger straight and relocating it immediately is painful but will provide immediate relief.

Sometimes this is not possible, and it needs to be relocated in an emergency department under local anaesthetic. In some cases this does not relocate the joint, and some joint capsule, tendon or other structure is preventing its relocation. With every dislocation it is important to get an Xray even if it has already been relocated, as there may be an associated fracture and it will influence the management.

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  • Management


Once the joint is perfectly reduced, it is mostly stable and may be buddy-taped to an adjacent finger and range of motion exercises begun as the swelling and pain settle. The torn structures settle and provide good stability, with no compromise in function


Operative management is undertaken if the joint cannot be reduced by closed means, if it is an open dislocation, if there is an associated unstable fracture that needs to be fixed, or if there is persistent instability of the finger following rehabilitation and a ligament reconstruction needs to be performed.

Metacarpal dislocations are quite commonly associated with metacarpal fractures, or, more rarely, occur in isolation. These dislocations are more unstable once reduced than finger dislocations, as the joint is less constrained. If the dislocation is unstable, it requires either temporary fixation with a wire, or a bridge plate to keep it reduced while it heals.

Conditions Managed

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