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Finger dislocations

Patient information A-Z

What is a finger dislocation?

Dislocation of any joint means the two surfaces of the joint are no longer in contact with each other. This can happen with any finger or thumb joint.

The most common finger dislocation involves the middle joint. Most dislocations occur as the result of a fall or a sporting accident, with the direction of the dislocation depending on the forces applied at the time of the injury. Some dislocations may also be associated with a fracture of the bones involved.

X-ray of hand with dislocated little finger (left) and a hand with two fingers bandaged up (right)
Finger dislocations

Swelling and bruising at the injury site is normal. Simple, over the counter pain killers and applying ice to the area will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a tea towel, for 20 minutes three to four times a day.

These injuries can be protected by strapping the injured finger to the finger next to it. This may be done by taping your fingers together or using a double tubigrip. This acts as a splint to protect the healing bone from too much strain, but also allows for early movement of your fingers.

You should

  • Keep the splint / strapping intact until you are advised to remove it.
  • Apply ice and elevate your hand to reduce swelling.
  • Move your finger as comfort allows with the splint / strapping intact.
  • Take simple over the counter pain killers as needed.
  • Remove any rings or jewelry from the affected hand.

You should not

  • Take part in any physical or contact sports for at least six weeks unless recommended otherwise.
  • Miss any appointments with the specialists if these have been requested.

Please remember

Please contact your GP if your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate. If your condition is worsening please contact the Multi professional fracture clinic, call 01223 348299 or call 01223 257095. For more information please visit: please visit Fracture information website (opens in a new tab)

For any concerns on wounds email the CUH fracture team. Please include your hospital number and any photos of your wounds that you would like to be reviewed.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
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