Joint Dislocations Of The Upper Limb
Dislocations are a common hand / upper limb injury and can affect the fingers, wrist and less commonly, the elbow:
- Finger dislocation occurs when the bones in a finger slip out of the joints. Dislocation can happen to any finger, however, it is more common in the middle knuckle of index, middle, ring or little finger. Dislocation of the finger occurs when the finger is bent beyond its normal range of motion. This can happen during sport activities, like catching a ball or a blunt force impact to your finger.
- Wrist dislocations occur when one of the small bones in the wrist comes out of place within the wrist joint and is often accompanied by a wrist fracture.
- Elbow dislocations are less common compared with finger and wrist dislocations and occur when the joint surfaces of an elbow become separated, and commonly occur when a person falls onto an outstretched hand, the force the impact driving the elbow out of its socket.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Dislocated Finger Or Wrist?
A dislocated finger is easy to spot, the symptoms include:
- The finger appears to be droopy, crooked or deformed.
- There’s swelling, bruising and pain.
- Cuts may appear on the affected finger.
- The finger feels weak, loose or unstable.
The symptoms of a dislocated wrist include:
- Wrist appears deformed or out-of-place
- Swelling, bruising, pain & tenderness of the wrist
- Numbness & weakness in the wrist & hand.
- The finger feels weak, loose or unstable
How Can A Dislocated Joint Be Treated?
It is imperative that dislocations of the finger, wrist or elbow be treated promptly. Delay in treatment may cause misalignment of the joint and permanent deformity to the affected finger or wrist or elbow.
If you have a dislocated finger, wrist or elbow, a hand therapist at Central Victorian Hand Therapy will perform the following treatments:
- Assess your condition carefully
- Straightening your dislocated finger (by a doctor)
- Pain and swelling management
- Hand / joint strengthening exercises
I Have A Dislocated Finger / Wrist / Elbow - What Should I Do?
It is recommended that you see a GP or make your way to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital if you suspect you have a dislocated finger, wrist or elbow to have it properly assessed and diagnosed. This may include an x-ray of the joint.
It is important that you avoid moving the affected finger as it may exacerbate the condition.
- You can apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel or handkerchief to reduce swelling
- Lift your hand hand to reduce swelling
- If there is a cut, apply dressing to it
- Take painkillers, such as paracetamol, to reduce pain
- Remove any rings from the dislocated finger
A dislocated finger usually doesn’t need any surgical intervention. Central Victorian Hand Therapy has a team of experienced hand therapists who are ready to help to rehabilitate your dislocated finger / wrist / elbow to regain strength & movement and to prevent further injury.
Please note, patients who want to refer themselves are welcome to do so. You only need a referral if you are funded under Workcover, TAC, The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), or you are on a Management Plan such as the Enhanced Primary Care Plan from your doctor.