A finger dislocation is not usually treated at home. A doctor should be consulted or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.
Remember that a finger dislocation is expected to swell. Further injury can be prevented by removing any jewelry on the affected hand, especially rings. An ice pack should be applied on the injured finger and elevate above the level of the heart.
Management for a finger dislocation
If an individual is assessed with a finger dislocation, the doctor will realign the dislocated finger bones with a simple technique. This often requires a localized anesthetic injection into the affected finger to reduce or stop the pain and allow the doctor to reduce the dislocation and realign the bones. In addition, medications can be given orally, via injection or intravenously to ease the pain.
A protective splint or the “buddy tape” technique is used on the affected finger. This ensures that the finger dislocation will not recur and prevent pain and further injury from movement.
A second X-ray is usually requested by the doctor to confirm the realignment of the finger and check for any damaged bones that was not shown in the initial X-ray.
Most cases of simple dislocations can be restored back to the natural position easily. The functionality of the affected finger will usually return. It is important to note that mild or moderate discomfort or disability can persist for 12-18 months. Lasting swelling or disfigurement of the affected joint is expected.
Occasionally, a piece of the dislocated joint or some of the adjacent tissue can end up lodged between the displaced bones. This prevents the bones from moving back into their natural position. Surgery might be needed to position the bones into the right alignment. The outcome of surgery is usually good but some function might be lost.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a finger dislocation is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage joint injuries including a finger dislocation, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.