A to Z: Dislocation, Finger

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A to Z: Dislocation, Finger

A dislocation is when the bones in a joint slip out of their normal position. A finger dislocation may happen from a fall, blow, or sports injury, especially if the finger is bent back or jammed.


More to Know

A dislocated finger is usually diagnosed through an X-ray. The bones may move back into place on their own or a doctor might gently put the joint back with a quick maneuver called a reduction. In some cases, surgery is needed to repair the joint

To keep the joint from dislocating again, a splint is put on the injured finger or the injured finger is taped to the neighboring finger ("buddy taping"). Depending on the injury, the splint or buddy taping will remain for a few days to a few weeks. Gentle hand exercises might be recommended to help strengthen the finger and reduce joint stiffness.

Keep in Mind

With proper treatment, most people who dislocate a finger can gradually return to their normal activities. The finger may feel sore or stiff for a while.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.
OrganizationNational Athletic Trainers' Association This site contains information on certified athletic trainers and tips on preventing and healing sports injuries.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Sports Medicine Institute The mission of ASMI is to improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education.

Related Articles

First Aid: Dislocations A dislocation happens when two connected bones are separated. These injuries require emergency medical care to avoid further damage.
Preventing Children's Sports Injuries Participation in sports can teach kids sportsmanship and discipline. But sports also carry the potential for injury. Here's how to protect your kids.
Bones, Muscles, and Joints Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn't stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement.
Sports Medicine Center Get tips on everything from finding the best sport for your kids to preventing and handling injuries.
Household Safety: Preventing Injuries From Falling, Climbing, and Grabbing The potential for a dangerous fall or a tumble into a sharp edge can happen in nearly every area of your home. Read about how to help protect kids from getting hurt.
A to Z: Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) In slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), the very top of the thighbone (called the femoral head) slips out of line with the rest of the thighbone, causing a weakened hip joint.
Nursemaid's Elbow A quick tug of a toddler's arm can result in a partial dislocation of an elbow ligament, causing an injury known as nursemaid's elbow.
A to Z: Radial Head Subluxation Nursemaid's elbow is a partial dislocation of the elbow joint that happens when a ligament slips out of place near the elbow.
A to Z: Contusion (Bruise), Finger Learn more about contusions (bruises) of the finger.
X-Ray Exam: Finger Doctors may order a finger X-ray to find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, or swelling, or to detect broken bones or dislocated joints.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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