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If you need a DIP Joint Arthrodesis, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is A DIP Joint Arthrodesis?

DIP joint arthrodesis, also known as distal interphalangeal joint arthrodesis, is a surgical procedure in which the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint of the finger is fused. The DIP joint is the joint that is located at the tip of the finger, connecting the middle phalanx to the distal phalanx. Arthrodesis is a procedure that involves fusing two bones together to create a stable and immobile joint.

DIP joint arthrodesis is typically performed to address severe arthritis, chronic pain, instability, deformity, or joint damage that does not respond to conservative treatments. The procedure is most commonly done for the fingers, particularly the index, middle, ring, and little fingers.

The DIP joint arthrodesis procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Incision: An incision is made over the affected DIP joint to expose the bones.
  2. Joint Preparation: The cartilage and damaged bone surfaces of the DIP joint are carefully removed to create a fresh bony surface.
  3. Bone Fusion: The two bones that form the DIP joint (middle phalanx and distal phalanx) are brought together in a specific position and held securely using screws, pins, or plates. This fusion allows the bones to grow together over time, creating a solid union.
  4. Closure: The incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples, and the finger is dressed and bandaged.

Recovery and Rehabilitation: After DIP joint arthrodesis, the finger is usually immobilized with a splint or cast for a period to allow for bone healing and fusion. Over several weeks to months, the bones will gradually grow together, forming a solid joint. During this time, the patient is advised to avoid any activities that may stress the healing joint.

Physical therapy and hand therapy are essential components of the recovery process. These therapies help in managing pain, reducing swelling, and improving finger strength and flexibility after the fusion has occurred.

Benefits and Considerations: DIP joint arthrodesis is a reliable procedure that can provide pain relief and improved stability for individuals with severe DIP joint arthritis or other conditions that affect the joint. By eliminating the joint movement, arthrodesis prevents the pain caused by bone-on-bone friction and reduces inflammation.

However, it is essential to consider that fusing the DIP joint will result in a permanent loss of motion at that joint. While this may not significantly affect overall hand function, it is important for individuals to understand the potential impact on activities that require fine finger movements.

The decision to undergo DIP joint arthrodesis is made based on the patient’s specific condition, the severity of symptoms, and the degree of joint damage. Patients should have a thorough discussion with their hand surgeon to fully understand the potential benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of the procedure before making a decision.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.