Many volleyball activities, such as setting, digging and blocking, make the fingers vulnerable to injury and finger dislocations can be a common consequence. This injury is characterized by the bones moving out of place and this most often happens when the finger is forcefully bent backward. There are metacarpal bones and phalanges in the fingers and any of the phalanges can be dislocated at the joints.
Signs and Symptoms of a Finger Dislocation
You can usually tell a finger is dislocated by looking at because it will look crooked and deformed. The finger gets swollen and there is significant pain associated with a dislocation. There may also be bruising. You should immediately stop playing if you suspect a dislocation to prevent further damage to the dislocated finger.
Treating a Finger Dislocation
Treatment involves correcting the dislocation so that all bones and joints are lined up. This is a relatively simple process for a doctor or certified athletic trainer and anesthesia is not always necessary. The doctor or trainer will put pressure on the bone that is dislocated to move the bone trapped against the joint. Once this is free, outward pulling works to put the bone back into its proper place. This requires no cutting or surgery and is referred to as closed reduction.
Once your doctor or trainer has the bones back in their proper alignment, the finger will be taped or splinted to allow the bones to heal. This tape or splint is left in place for two to six weeks and how long you need to wear it will depend on the dislocation type you experienced.
There are some cases where closed reduction is not sufficient to fix a dislocated finger and in this case, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may also be done if a closed reduction fails to offer great enough stability for a joint. Surgery may also be needed when any fractures occur in a joint even if the dislocation itself is not complicated. Your doctor will do X-rays to determine if surgery is necessary to correct your dislocation.
After the bone is realigned, it is important to prevent a re-injury because this can lead to a far more serious problem. Athletic tape may be helpful once the doctor’s tape or splint is removed after three to six weeks. Your doctor will let you know what type of aftercare is best to prevent further issues once you return to the game.
Physical therapy is not necessary following a dislocation that is fixed without surgery. However, if surgery was done, your doctor may recommend a rehabilitation program to ensure you regain strength and range of motion in your hand and fingers.