PIP Joint Dislocation

PIP Joint Dislocation

Description Of The Injury: A proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint dislocation is the dislocation of the joint that is just proximal to the knuckle. The PIP joint area contains a strong ligament called the volar plate and collateral ligaments around it. Dislocation of this area usually occurs when the finger has been hyper extended in some abrupt way. This causes the ligament to tear from its attachment.

Injury Symptoms: The most critical sign is pain and swelling at the proximal interphalangeal joint. Flexing the finger at the middle phalange will be difficult and will result in considerable pain. Occasionally the area may also be deformed as a minor piece of bone may have been pulled away due to the impact.

Additional Information

Home Treatments:

The injury should be initially treated with ice packs 20 minutes at at time, 4-8 times in the first 48 hours to reduce the swelling and inflammation. The finger should be buddy taped to the adjacent finger to allow the finger to remain in a stable position. This also allows the injured finger to experience the same minor movements that the adjacent finger does which helps prevent the joint from stiffening.

Professional Medical Treatments:

A doctor may recommend a splint to immobilize the PIP joint for the first 3-4 weeks. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs may be recommended. Surgery is not necessary unless the doctor considers the dislocation to be severe.

Physical Therapy and Exercises:

Recovery of the injured finger can begin by buddy taping it to an adjacent finger. This allows the injured finger to gradually go through the range of motion that the buddy finger goes through. Later on, flexion, extension, side to side motions can be practiced with the injured finger. Practicing writing the alphabet in the air with the injured finger is also a beneficial way of recovering total range of motion.

Exercise Techniques to Prevent Injury:

Because a dislocation of the interphalangeal joint usually occurs from an abrupt hyper extension of the finger, there are no particular exercise techniques to adequately prevent it from occurring. using supportive tape during activities, particularly contact sports, on the fingers may help prevent this injury from occurring.

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