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Proximal interphalangeal joint dislocations without fractures

A J Vicar
Hand Clinics 1988, 4 (1): 5-13
Injuries to the proximal interphalangeal joint are extremely common. An understanding of the complex anatomy of this joint is essential for diagnosis and treatment of proximal interphalangeal joint sprains and dislocations. Lateral injuries are among the commonest injuries in the hand. These are often stable after reduction, requiring only closed treatment. Occasionally, however, the collateral ligament can be trapped in the joint and require open reduction. Dorsal dislocations represent the most common dislocation in the hand. These, too, are usually stable after reduction and can be treated by closed methods. On occasion, however, these dislocations will be open or irreducible by closed means, requiring surgical intervention and repair of damaged structures. Complex rotary dislocations are exactly that: complex. An exact understanding of the damaged structures and causes of irreducibility frequently makes this an injury often requiring open reduction and selective repair of damaged soft tissue structures. Fortunately, prompt diagnosis, reduction, and institution of appropriate treatment can usually afford the patient good function after these injuries. It must be noted that stiffness is more common than instability, and active range-of-motion exercises instituted at the proper time are essential. These joints will often remain permanently thicker after injury in spite of optimal care, and tenderness and soreness with use may persist for 6 to 12 months.

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