A toe dislocation is diagnosed when the ends of the bones that make up the IP joints are no longer in straight alignment. The IP joint is a hinge joint that allows only flexion (bending) and extension (straightening) and includes several ligaments. Any tearing or disruption of these ligaments may cause the bones that make up the toe joints to push through the ligaments causing a dislocation. One bone may be displaced on top of or below the other bone or it may be pushed to the side. Dislocation is typically associated with forced hyperextension (bending backwards) or hyperflexion (bending down) and it requires immediate reduction.
Pain, swelling and any unusual angulation of the toe after an injury may indicate a possible dislocation of the joint connecting two bones. The toe has two joints, the end joint is called the DIP joint and the one where the toe and the foot meet is called the PIP joint. Either joint can be dislocated by being forcefully bent back or down especially when running and during sporting activities.