dislocated fingers

How to treat dislocated fingers

Fact Checked

Dislocated fingers are injury where the ends of the finger bone are out of its normal alignment. It is a painful condition and usually a common sports injury. Grabbing, pulling, reaching and pushing while playing sports, there is a possibility of causing a dislocated finger. It ruptures the connective tissues that covers the joints of the fingers with dislocation and misalignment of bones that form the joint.

The four fingers except the thumb consists of three small bones called phalanges. They connect at the interphalangeal joints and to the metacarpals at the metacarpophalangeal joint that forms 3 joints for each finger. These joints have connective tissues around the ends of bone and cartilage that is located between the joints. It lessens the force of bones with each other when performing activities.

Types of dislocated fingers

  • Distal interphalangeal joints which are near the fingernails.
    Dislocation of this joints can be due to trauma and open wound caused by injury.
  • Proximal interphalangeal joints are in the middle area of the fingers. Dislocation is these areas are called coach’s finger or jammed finger. These injuries are common in people playing ball sports such as basketball, football and baseball.
  • Metacarpophalangeal joints which are found in the knuckles at the beginning of the fingers. They connect the finger to the palm of the hand. Dislocation in this area happen in the little or the index finger.


  • Forcefully overextending the fingers
  • Striking the tip of an outstretched finger while playing basketball or baseball.
  • Fingers getting caught in equipment such as sports equipment or game jersey.
  • Falling onto an outstretched hand.
  • A direct blow to the joint of the finger.


  • The affected finger looks crooked, swollen and painful.
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • The affected area becomes pale
  • A tear or a pop at the time of injury
  • Difficulty in performing regular activities such as gripping, opening jar, cooking, picking objects using the affected hand and performing household chores.


  • Place the affected finger in a protective splint or buddy tape the area to the finger next to it, to prevent unnecessary movements and for fast healing of the condition.
  • Apply ice pack on the affected area for at least 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for the first 2-3 days or until the pain and the swelling is reduced. Avoid ice directly on the skin. Wrap ice using a towel or a cloth before placing to the area to prevent ice burn.
  • Elevate the injured finger above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and the pain. Raise the affected area in couple of pillows while lying down to keep it elevated.
  • Take the prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the inflammation and the pain.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and restore range of movement of the affected finger.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on dislocated fingers is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this injury by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.





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