Metacarpophalangeal Joint Dislocation of the Thumb or Finger
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. Accidents involving motor vehicles have the potential to cause injuries of all types, including joint dislocations involving the hand, such as the metacarpophalangeal joint.
What is a Metacarpophalangeal Joint Dislocation of the Thumb or Finger?
When people think about injuries involving bones, bone fractures likely come to mind; however, traumatic injuries to the extremities can also involve joint dislocations. The metacarpophalangeal joint is the joint that connects the metacarpals to the fingers which protrude from the palm of the hand. A dislocation involving this joint can either involve the thumb or one of the fingers, giving this injury its name.
Mechanism of Injury
These injuries are relatively rare because the joints are protected by ligaments, tendons, and bones in the immediate area. This restricts the movement of the joint, helping to prevent injury; however, there are situations where abrupt trauma to the area can cause a dislocation. In an auto accident, it is possible that someone could have a tight grip on something (such as a steering wheel) at the time of impact. If the rest of the hand travels forward while the thumb or finger are restrained by the steering wheel, this can stretch the ligaments of the metacarpophalangeal joint, leading to a dislocation.
Treatment of a Metacarpophalangeal Joint Dislocation of the Thumb or Finger
The first step in the treatment of this unusual injury is establishing a proper diagnosis. This will require imaging studies, such as a x-ray, and possibly a MRI to assess the ligaments and tendons in the area. Treatment usually involves “buddy taping,” or taping the affected joint to stable joints nearby. More severe injuries will require longer taping durations.
Complications and Comorbidities
Failure to diagnose the injury quickly can lead to a variety of comorbidities. The most common complication is reinjury. Once a joint has been dislocated once, it is easier to dislocate the joint a subsequent time.
Structures in Play
Damage to the ligaments surrounding the MCP joint are typically problematic. It is this damage that leads to dislocation in the first place. The farther the joint dislocates, greater the risk of damaging peripheral nerves that run through the hand. Damage to these nerves can lead to chronic pain that requires rehabilitation or medication.
When dealing with an MCP joint dislocation, a number of other injuries must be considered:
- Wrist fracture
- Scaphoid fracture
- Boxer’s Fracture
- Gamekeeper’s Thumb
- Bennett’s Fracture
- Metacarpal Fracture
The prognosis of this injury will depend on its severity and every patient will have an increased risk of reinjury compared to those who have never dislocated their MCP joint before. The prognosis is best handled on an individual basis but most make a full recovery in a matter of weeks.
Surgery is Possible
If the dislocation is exceedingly complex or if damage to other structures are evident, an open reduction of the dislocation in the operating room could be possible. While surgery is unusual, most patients will still be immobilized for several weeks after the procedure.
If your injury was caused by the negligent act of someone else, it is important to contact an experienced Sacramento personal injury laywer who can file a claim for your medical expenses and other damages from the at fault person or entity.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, and I’m an experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, please call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. When you call me, we can go over the details of your injury claim and discuss the best way to proceed.
I am proud to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in California. I am a personal injury attorney and a top-rated trial lawyer in the United States. The professionals of this forum have either achieved verdicts or earned settlements in excess of $1 Million Dollars.
Most of my verdicts and settlements can be viewed here.
Image Attribution: used under the Share-Alike Creative Commons License, version 4.0. Via Wikimedia Commons.
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