Dislocation of a joint means that the two surfaces are no longer in contact with each other. This can happen at any joint in the finger or thumb. The most common joint to be dislocated is the middle joint in the finger the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ). The direction of dislocation will depend on the forces applied at the time of the injury. Some dislocations will be associated with a fracture (break) in the bones involved, this may make the treatment more difficult and the outcome more uncertain. The dislocation may damage the ligaments that support the sides and front of the joint with the risk of long term instability.
Most dislocations occur as the result of a fall or a sporting accident. Less commonly dislocations can occur as the result of being involved in a violent incident or in a road accident. Dislocations occur because the joint is pushed into an abnormal position and the ligaments, that support the joint and hold the bones in the correct place, give way. This allows the bones to slip out of position.