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Finger Dislocation


A finger dislocation occurs when bones in your finger move out of their normal position. This takes place at a joint (where bones meet).


Care for your finger:

Care for your finger as directed. This may help reduce pain and swelling. It also may improve how well you can move and use your finger.

  • Ice your finger: This can help decrease pain and swelling. Place a plastic bag filled with ice, or an ice pack, on your finger. Apply an ice pack as often as directed.
  • Elevate your finger: Keep your finger above the level of your heart. This can help reduce swelling. Prop your arm or hand on a pillow. This should be done as often as you can for the first 1 to 3 days after your injury.


  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take at home to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is too bad before taking your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Exercise your finger:

Exercise can help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness in your finger. It also can help increase strength and movement. You may need to exercise your finger as soon as you can. You also may be told not to move your finger for a few weeks. Be sure to follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Occupational therapy (OT) may be ordered for you. A therapist works with you to help you regain movement in your finger.

Care for your splint or cast:

Your injured finger may be buddy-taped, splinted, or put in a cast to hold your finger or thumb in place while it heals. Buddy tape is when your injured finger is taped to the finger next to it. A splint is a piece of stiff material attached to your finger using cloth straps. You may have these treatments for 8 weeks or more. To care for your splint or cast:

  • Do not get your splint or cast wet. Use a plastic bag to cover the splint or cast if you shower.
  • Keep your splint or cast clean. Make sure no dirt gets under your splint or cast.
  • Do not trim your cast without talking to your healthcare provider. Also, never remove your cast on your own.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or hand specialist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your follow-up visits.

Contact your healthcare provider or hand specialist if:

  • You have numbness or tingling in your hand.
  • The skin under your cast or splint burns or stings.
  • The skin around your cast becomes red or raw.
  • Your cast becomes cracked or damaged.
  • You have questions or concerns about your injury or treatment.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have increased swelling beneath your splint or cast.
  • You think your cast or splint is too tight.
  • You cannot move your fingers.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.