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Hand Dislocation: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

With 27 bones in each of your hands and wrists, there are plenty of opportunities for hand dislocations. A dislocation occurs when a bone moves out of its normal position, usually at a joint. These painful injuries can lead to permanent disability and deformity if untreated or incorrectly treated. 

Hand dislocations usually occur at one of three different joints of your hand: 

When your bones shift out of position, you can also damage your hand's tendons, ligaments, and muscles. 

Our team of talented orthopedic surgeons here at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, are expert hand surgeons. We offer customized treatments to repair hand dislocations to help you recover and regain full use of your hand.  

Hand dislocation causes

As mentioned, hand dislocations are common sports injuries, especially in basketball and football. For example, you can dislocate an IP joint by being struck in the hand with a ball. You could also catch your finger on the rim of a basketball hoop or another player's jersey. You can also dislocate an IP joint during a collision with another player, trapping your finger between players, equipment, or the ground.

MCP and CMC dislocations are common injuries from falling on an outstretched hand (FOOSH). The force on your flexed wrist pushes the bones out of place. For example, if you're playing baseball and fall, catching yourself on your gloved hand, you can dislocate the thumb metacarpal from the carpal bones and tear your radial collateral ligament. You can sustain a similar injury while skiing if you fall and catch yourself while grasping your pole. 

It's also possible to dislocate your hand in work-related injury or during an automobile collision.

Signs of a hand dislocation

Like most orthopedic injuries, hand dislocations cause pain. Your hand swells and turns purple-blue with bruises. You might also notice that your hand looks deformed, such as a protrusion at the base of your palm or where your palm joins with your fingers. One of your fingers could bend at an unnatural angle. 

With the swelling and deformity, you might not be able to move your hands or fingers, including bending and extending your fingers and wrist or grasping objects. The swelling can also trigger carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, including numbness and tingling. 

A dislocation can also disrupt the blood supply to the bones in your wrist or hand, which can cause bone tissue to die and lead to painful arthritis. 


You must get medical treatment from an orthopedic hand specialist for any hand or wrist injury, including dislocations. Our team carefully examines your injury and uses X-rays to evaluate the severity of your condition. 

Once we understand your needs, we can offer customized treatment to repair your hand and help you recover quickly and safely. 

Closed reduction

If you have a minor dislocation, we can perform a closed reduction to reposition your bones. We apply a splint or a brace to keep your bones in correct alignment while you heal. 

Open reduction surgery

However, in severe cases, we might need to reposition your bones during an open reduction surgery. For example, if you have ligaments or tendons trapped in the joint, we can carefully remove and repair your connective tissue and realign your joint. You also need to wear a brace or splint while recovering from open reduction surgery. 

Physical and occupational therapy

Physical and occupational therapy are critical parts of treatment plans for hand dislocations. Physical therapy helps preserve your flexibility while you recover, then restores your strength. Occupational therapy helps you relearn skills like typing, brushing your teeth, or holding a pencil or fork. 

If you have a hand injury and think it could be a dislocation, don't delay treatment. Call us here at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery or schedule an appointment online. 

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