Dislocations of the Hand and Wrist

Dislocations of the wrist, hand and finger bones are usually caused by a traumatic injury such as a car accident, sports injury, or even just breaking a fall with your hand..

Dislocations of the wrist and hand may look misshapen and cause pain and swelling. The fingers may also tingle and become numb if the dislocated bone puts pressure on the carpal tunnel. Left untreated a dislocation can reduce the blood supply to tissues of the wrist, leading to the deterioration of the wrist joint. Over time this can present as disabling arthritis.

How are dislocations of the wrist, hand and fingers treated?

An x-ray will be used to categorise the extent of the dislocation and whether other tissues were damaged. Dislocations are usually treated with a procedure called a reduction, which involves the doctor pushing the bones back into the correct position. This usually done under some form of anaesthetic. Following this, your hand or arm will be placed in a splint or cast to immobilise the area while it heals.

For more severe dislocations in which a ligament was torn or a bone was broken, surgery may be needed. This is known as an open reduction and involves the manipulation of the bone back into position as well as the repair of bones and ligaments. In some cases, pins or screws may be needed to hold everything in place. Most perilunate and lunate dislocations are surgically repaired to ensure the best possible outcome and restore full mobility to the hand.

After surgery, your hand and possibly arm will be placed in a splint or cast to allow for healing. Buddy taping may be done for dislocated fingers, in which the injured finger is strapped to an adjacent finger to provide support while allowing a greater range of motion. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, recovery should take two to three months, but can take even longer and usually after an injury there may always be some long term mild sensitivity or mild decrease in motion.