Knuckles are finger joints brought in to eminence when you clench your hand and make a fist. You may dislocate your knuckles by hitting them forcefully on a very hard object, such as, punching a concrete wall or metal deliberately or accidentally. In sports such as basketball or baseball, force may get applied on the tip of an outstretched finger. The finger may get caught in the jersey or pads, triggering dislocation.
A dislocated knuckle is a condition wherein the finger bones move apart or sidewards such that the ends of the bones are not aligned as they should be. It usually occurs when the finger gets bent backwards beyond its normal range of movement.
Knuckle dislocation is fairly common; occurring when the bones of the finger move from their normal position. Dislocation may occur in any of the joints of any finger, but the commonest occurrence is in the middle knuckle of the index, middle, ring, or little finger.
Symptoms Of A Dislocated Knuckle Joint
Clinical features and manifestations of a dislocated knuckle are as follows:
- Severe pain and swelling of the knuckle / finger.
- The bones of the finger may appear crooked.
- The finger looks pale.
- The affected finger may be bent upwards or may bend in a strange angle.
- It won’t be possible to straighten the dislocated finger.
- The surface skin may be cut, scraped or bruised.
- In case of very severe knuckle dislocations, there will be associated tingling and numbness.
Treatment And Recovery Time Of Dislocated Knuckle
The dislocated finger needs to be realigned; this is done after your health care provider confirms that the injured joint is stable, there is no fracture, and the swelling, pain and tenderness have improved considerably.
For about 2 weeks, you need to use a buddy tape or wear a finger splint, which secures the injured finger to an adjacent uninjured finger for support and immobilization.
A dislocated knuckle is remedied with or without local anesthesia. To rectify the dislocation, the physician will press against the displaced bone to extricate the bone in case it is caught against the side of the joint. Once the end of the bone gets freed, the doctor pulls outwards to reinstate the bone in to its normal position. This procedure is closed reduction. Once the joint is back in normal position, you need to wear a splint or tape the finger to an adjacent finger for about 4 to 6 weeks, depending up on the particular kind of knuckle dislocation.
If your doctor fails to straighten the finger via closed reduction or if the damaged joint is not stable after closed reduction, the dislocation needs to be surgically repaired. Surgery is also necessary in case the dislocation is complicated by large fractures or fractures involving the joint. If you require surgery to repair your dislocated finger, it will take you at least around 5 to 6 weeks to return to your day to day activities, and particularly sports.
The average healing and recovery time for a dislocated knuckle is about 3 weeks. The outlook is usually good, although it could take approximately 4 months for the pain to disappear altogether.
Also, in a few cases, there may also be a certain degree of perpetual swelling around the affected joint, particularly an impaired proximal inter-phalangeal joint.