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Dislocated Finger in Children: Care Instructions


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 backwards. This is common during sports. A doctor can put your child's finger back in its normal position.

Your child probably knew that something was wrong with their 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 your child's finger to keep it in place while it heals. Your doctor may also recommend exercises to strengthen your child's finger. And you can help your child get better with rest and home treatment.

If your child damaged bones or muscles, more treatment may be needed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your doctor put a splint on the finger, have your child wear it as directed. Do not remove it until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Limit your child's use of the finger. You don't want your child to do anything that causes pain.
  • If your child's 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 your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Prop up your child's hand on a pillow when your child ices it or anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Have your child try to keep it above the level of the heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Give your child medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • If your doctor recommends it, give your child anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to reduce pain and swelling. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • If your doctor recommends exercises, help your child do them as directed.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse pain.
  • Your child's finger is cool or pale or changes colour.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness in the finger.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.