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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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how can i tell if ive dislocated or broken a knuckle

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how can i tell if i've dislocated or broken a knuckle?

1) Does your finger have the full range of motion? Does it curl normally?

2) Is there any deformity to the finger - e.g. when you look at your finger from above and from this side, does it look normal?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
my finger does have full range of motion and it curls normally. however, when i close my fist the knuckle looks much bigger than normal; it seems the tendon is off to the side.
Did you injure your hand - e.g. was there trauma, like punching a wall?

If you grasp your actual knuckle and move it around, is your finger unstable at that joint?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

yes, i did punch a wall..good guess:) the finger does seem unstable at the joint.


The fact that you can move your finger in all directions, and that it does not look deformed (it would be obvious), makes it less likely that this is a dislocation of the finger.

However, if you feel the finger seems unstable, and that you did impart some force on the hand (via punching the wall), there is a possibility that there could be injury to that knuckle, joint, or bones of the finger causing swelling and pain.

If you have no numbness/coldness of the finger, and you are still moving it normally, you can see how the swelling and pain improve -- an exam by a doctor and xrays of the hand would be able to determine if there has been injury to the hand should your pain not improve on its own.
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