Dislocated finger on the weekend?

A ball hitting your finger at just the wrong angle, getting your finger caught up with another player or falling awkwardly can result in a dislocated finger.  The most common victim is the middle joint of your finger, the PIP joint.

Most of the time a dislocated finger will either slip back into place by itself or be put back in by a sports trainer or doctor. The more severe the dislocation, the harder it is to relocate and the more tissue damage there is around the joint. 

Just a few things about finger dislocations:

  1. Dislocations can be in various directions. A backwards (dorsal) dislocation is the most frequent direction of dislocation but the joint can go sideways or forwards as well.

  2. Ligaments are the structures that are damaged - they prevent excess movement in a particular direction and hence provide stability to the joint.

  3. The ligament can tear or sometimes a piece of bone is pulled off with the ligament. The latter is called an avulsion fracture

  4. Joint swelling, bruising and pain are to be expected initially. Use your first aid techniques of ice, compression & rest to look after your finger for the first few days. For those who have simpler injuries, that’s all you need. But there are times when your injury is not so straightforward and that’s when you definitely need an expert involved, to overcome any complications that may occur and to direct you on the best way forward.

What do you need to do first up?
Territory Hands can be your first port of call. We are experts in treating all sorts of finger injuries and can refer you for an X Ray  to check for a fracture if that’s needed.
We will treat your swollen, painful finger and tell you how to best look after it. We usually make a removable thermoplastic splint for your finger to keep it protected, and then get you moving. Appropriate, gentle movement assists in the healing process and reduces stiffness. We also encourage you to use your hand within your pain limits. 

How long?
Everyone wants to know how long it will take to get better and there is no simple answer. It depends on how bad the dislocation has been. The good news is that you can often be back safely playing sport and using your hand before your finger is completely recovered.  
Stay tuned for more in our next blog.