Hand Dislocation Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Jeff Chan, MD, MS, FACEP; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Always check active extension at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint against resistance. Failure to perform an adequate assessment of the stability of reduction is a concern. Failure to diagnose persistent subluxation or tissue trapped in a joint because of the absence of gross deformity is also a concern.

Be suspicious of decreased range of motion (ROM) to avoid missing an open dislocation that was reduced before presentation. Be suspicious of any lacerations near interphalangeal joints in a patient with a jammed finger.

In addition to the conditions listed in the differential diagnosis, other problems to be considered include the following:

  • Chronic deformity

  • Collateral ligament injury

  • Hand soft tissue infections, acute hand arthritis

Differential Diagnoses