Key Points about Dislocation of the Elbows, Fingers & Wrists

  • Wrist and finger dislocations can be common. Elbow dislocations are not very common injuries.
  • Dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists are typically caused by trauma. Car accidents and sports injuries are common causes of dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists.
  • Symptoms of dislocations of the elbow, fingers, and wrists include severe pain, swelling, deformity, numbness, and inability to move the affected area.
  • If you suspect a dislocation of the elbow, fingers, or wrists, you should go to the emergency room immediately to have it diagnosed and treated to prevent further damage.

Overview

Dislocation means that bones that are typically connected have become separated and are no longer in the correct position. Dislocations can occur in the fingers, wrists, and elbows.

Treatment will depend on the severity and location of your injury.

Your orthopedic team is highly experienced in treating dislocations of the elbow, fingers, and wrists.

Dislocation of the elbows, fingers & wrists causes

Dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists are often caused by trauma to the joint. Trauma can be caused by:

  • Sports injuries. Dislocations often occur when there is a blow to the joint. For example, when the hand and wrist bend backward while trying to catch a basketball, a hand dislocation can occur. Finger dislocations can occur when an athlete jams a finger or collides with another player.
  • Car accidents. Car collisions can cause intense jarring to the joints, which can lead to dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists.

Dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists symptoms

Symptoms of dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists are typically very obvious.

Signs or symptoms include:

  • Severe pain in the affected area
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Visible deformities in the elbow, finger or wrists after experiencing trauma
  • Decreased ability or complete inability to move the affected elbow, finger or wrist

Dislocation of the elbows, fingers and wrists risk factors

There are a few factors that can increase your chances of developing dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists, including:

  • Some people are born with joints that are more susceptible to injury, including dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists.
  • As people age, they become more at risk for falls that cause injuries like dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists.
  • People who play high impact sports or sports where falls are common are more at risk for dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists.

Dislocation of the elbows, fingers and wrists diagnosis

If you suspect you have a dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists, you should go to the emergency room right away. Your doctor can diagnose dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrists. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and take a full medical history. Your doctor may also order some imaging tests, such as:

  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT Scan

These tests may be able to determine the severity of your injury.

Dislocation of the elbows, fingers and wrists treatment

Recovery from dislocation of the elbows, fingers, and wrist depends on the severity of the injury.

Treatment depends on the location and severity of the injury.

  • Finger dislocation — Treatment for finger dislocation includes putting the finger back into its correct position. You should follow up with an orthopaedist to assess further damage.
  • Wrist dislocation — Treatment for wrist dislocation depends on if there is a wrist fracture in addition to the wrist dislocation. Treatment for wrist dislocation often includes putting the bone back into the correct position. Next, your doctor will immobilize your wrist in a cast to allow it to heal. Sometimes, wrist dislocation requires surgery to repair broken bones and properly position bones.
  • Elbow dislocation — Treatment for elbow dislocation depends on the severity of the dislocation. For simple elbow dislocations, treatment involves immobilizing elbow in a sling for a short amount of time. Your doctor may recommend some exercises after the sling is removed. For more complex elbow dislocations, surgery may be required to realign bones and repair ligaments.

When to Seek Care

If you suspect you have a dislocation of the elbow, fingers, and wrists, you should go to the emergency room right away.

Next Steps

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan customized for your case. Carefully follow your doctor’s treatment instructions.

If your pain intensifies, call your doctor right away to discuss the next steps. You may need a more advanced treatment option if a first-line conservative treatment is not effective.