Finger dislocation occurs when two of the finger bones that form a joint become displaced, damaging the blood vessels, ligaments and other soft tissue in the process.

The most common causes of finger dislocation include a traumatic impact that causes the finger to overextend or bend backward, such as a fall on an outstretched hand, and jamming the finger between a door and its frame or between a ball and a bat. Dislocations are most common among young people; however, arthritis that causes ligament laxity may be a contributing factor in older individuals.

Symptoms of this injury include pain, bruising, swelling, the inability to move the finger, and an appearance of crookedness. If there is nerve damage, the finger may feel numb. If blood vessels were damaged, the finger could appear pale and the skin may feel cold.

If you suspect a finger dislocation, do not try to put the joint back in place. Apply ice and immobilize the finger by splinting it to a neighboring finger, elevating it above the heart to reduce swelling and bleeding. Seek medical attention from Lancaster Orthopedic Group as soon as possible.

A hand subspecialist will thoroughly examine the finger and may take an X-ray to ensure that no bones were fractured. He or she will reduce the dislocation (or put it back in place) and splint the finger to allow it to heal. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications should reduce the discomfort.

A dislocated finger may take four to eight weeks to heal and recover full function. If there are complications, such as ligament tears or chronic dislocations, surgery may be recommended followed by hand therapy.