Dislocated Knuckle Joint: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Your knuckles are part of your finger joint that form when your hands are clenched, forming a fist. It is easy to get your knuckles dislocated when hit against a strong object, or when you throw punches against a metal or a concrete wall, either intentionally or accidentally.

Athletes that play baseball or basketball are the ones that suffer dislocated knuckle the most because they are always applying pressure to the tip of their finger. A finger that gets caught in a jersey or a pad is more likely to suffer dislocation.

Knuckle joint dislocation occurs when the bones of the finger separate or move side-ward, causing the ends of the bones to misalign.

It is most likely to occur then the finger is accidentally or intentionally bent backwards, exceeding its range of motion.

Dislocated knuckle is to some extent a common condition. The condition affects just about any finger, and can occur at any joint of the finger. However, it is the little, ring, middle and index finger that is affected the most.

Symptoms of a dislocated Knuckle Joint

When the bones of the fingers get dislocated, the following symptoms may occur

  • Crooked look of the fingers
  • Extreme pain which leads to swellings
  • The finger wears a pale look
  • The finger becomes bent at an odd angle
  • Straightening the dislocated finger becomes impossible
  • The skin where the dislocation occurred becomes bruised or scraped
  • If the dislocation is a severe one, the affected finger will suffer numbness and tingling

Treatment and recovery from dislocated Knuckle

After suffering dislocation, an affected finger needs to be realigned. But this can only be done after your doctor confirms there is no pain, fracture, swelling and tenderness around the affected joint.

You will have to wear finger splint or a buddy tape for a period of 2 weeks. This ensures the affected finger is well secured to an adjacent finger, thus providing immobilization and support.

A dislocated knuckle is in some instances treated with a local anesthesia. When treating the condition, a doctor will first press the dislocated bone, causing it to extricate in case it had been caught by the side joints. After freeing the end bone, next is to pull the finger in an outward manner until it fits back to its initial position. This treatment technique is known as reduction. Once your dislocated joint has been restored back to its original position, you will have to wear a tape or a splint for a period of 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity of your condition.

If your doctor feels that closed reduction can’t get your dislocated knuckle into position, surgery will be the next alternative. A dislocated joint that suffers complicated fractures can only be fixed via surgery. It takes about 5 to 6 weeks to fully recover and get back to your daily activities after going through surgery to correct a dislocated finger.

Recovery time

It takes about 3 full weeks to recover after being treated of dislocated knuckle. As for the pain, you will have to wait for 4 months to be completely relieved.

There are cases when a dislocated joint suffers perpetual swelling. This occurs mostly around the proximal interphalangeal joint.


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