ZocdocAnswersIf my knuckle is swollen does that mean that I have a dislocation?

Question

If my knuckle is swollen does that mean that I have a dislocation?

I get angry and hit the ground really hard with my fist. Now my center knuckle is red and swollen. Is it dislocated? If your knuckle is really swollen does that mean it is a dislocation?

Answer

It sounds like you may well have injured your knuckle. It is not unusual for this to happen after the kind of direct impact injury you describe. However, it is probably more likely that you have a fracture of one of the small bones in your hand than a dislocation. Although most of these fractures will heal with minimal intervention, it is important that you see a physician right away for x-rays. The hand is a complex part of the body with many bones, nerves, and other connective tissue. The consequences of a fracture that heals inappropriately or other injury that is not addressed can include permanent dysfunction of the hand. If you can't get an immediate appointment and referral to an orthopedic hand specialist through your primary care physician, then you should go to the emergency room where you can get a prompt exam, imaging, and surgical consultation. You may need a splint to help minimize movement of the affected area, and it is possible that you could need surgery depending upon the type of injury. However, even if you do turn out to have a fracture that does not require surgery, it is a good idea to have followup with an orthopedist to make sure that everything heals properly. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.