Dislocated Finger: Care Instructions

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When the bones of a finger are forced out of their normal position, it is called a dislocated finger. This can happen when a finger jams or bends backward. It is common during sports. A doctor can put your finger back in its normal position.

You probably knew that something was wrong with your finger right away. This is because a dislocated finger usually hurts a lot. And it doesn't look straight.

Your doctor may have put a splint on the finger. This will keep it in position while it heals. Your doctor may also recommend exercises to strengthen your finger. Rest and home treatment can also help you get better.

If you damaged bones or muscles, you may need more treatment.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor put a splint on your finger, wear it as directed. Do not remove it until your doctor says you can.
  • Do not do anything that makes the pain worse.
  • If your finger is swollen, put ice or a cold pack on it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Prop up your hand on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • If your doctor recommends exercises, do them as directed.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your finger is cool or pale or changes color.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in the finger.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.