What is finger dislocation?
There are 27 bones in a hand, and more than half of them are in the fingers. A dislocated finger happens when one of these bones pops out of its joint. There are three types of finger dislocation, depending on which finger joint is involved.
- Distal interphalangeal joint dislocation – happens in the joints closest to the fingertip.
- Proximal interphalangeal joint dislocation – happens in the joints in the middle of the finger. It is a very common sports injury, sometimes called a jammed finger.
- Metacarpalphalangeal joint dislocation – happens in the joints that connect the fingers to the palm. Dislocations of these joints are relatively rare, compared to the other two types.
What causes finger dislocation?
A variety of things can cause a finger to become dislocated, including:
- An athletic injury, particularly in a sport that involves handling a ball
- Injury to the finger
- A fall
What are the symptoms of a dislocated finger?
If you suspect that your finger might be dislocated, do not try to pull on it or pop it back into place. You may cause more damage. Symptoms of a dislocated finger include:
- Crooked appearance
- Difficulty making a fist
- Inability to bend or straighten the finger all the way
How is a dislocated finger diagnosed?
The diagnostic process starts by talking with you about your symptoms and conducting a detailed physical examination. Your specialist may also order diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray, to confirm the diagnosis and check for other injuries to the finger.
What are the treatment options for a dislocated finger?
If you think you might have a jammed finger, it’s important to get treatment right away. Without treatment, a dislocated finger could heal improperly, damaging the joint and putting you at risk of early arthritis.
A dislocated finger may be repaired with or without surgery, depending on how severe the injury is.
A repair that does not require surgery is called a closed reduction. The specialist moves the finger bone back into the joint.
Bracing or splinting
The next step is often to immobilize the injured finger, so that it has time to heal.
If the finger dislocation is severe, or if there are fractures or other injuries to the hand, surgery may be necessary to repair the dislocation.
Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise
The function of our hands is integrated through our wrists and arms to our shoulders; a problem anywhere along our arm may have a significant impact on hand function and quality of life. If you experience an injury or uncomfortable symptoms, our fellowship-trained hand and wrist surgeons are here to help. Summit physicians receive the highest levels of training and exclusively provide individualized care for conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
Related resources for you
- Check out more on Nerves in Hand
- Ask Dr. Parisi: Questions to Ask About Hand Surgery
- Ask Dr. Parisi: Questions for Your Hand Surgeon
- Learn about Summit’s Hand Services
- Watch video: Reasons for Hand Pain
Learn about why jammed finger injuries require immediate treatment.
Learn how treatment advances have significantly improved care for two common hand conditions: wrist fractures and Dupuytren’s contracture.
Ask the Expert: Hand Video Series