Finger trapsClosed reduction of fractures or dislocations in the hand and wrist can be difficulty to achieve. Gravity can serve as an assistant. Commercial finger traps are available, but can sometimes be hard to find in the Emergency Department. An earlier trick of the trade describes the use of a gauze role to build your own finger trap setup. The following describes a simpler way to build finger traps using a gauze roll.

Trick of the Trade:

Create finger loops for the index and middle finger using a gauze roll

Tip: Warn patients that their fingers will turn purple during the finger-trap reduction, and that this is okay. They won’t actually get damaged, and normal color will soon return. Recruit the nurse to help continue these reassurances while you are away from the bedside.


More detailed step-by-step setup instructions:

1. Fold the long gauze in half.

Kerlex-Roll-1 finger traps

2. Fold the gauze so that you create two small loops.

Kerlex-roll-2 finger traps

3. Place the patient’s index and middle fingers into the loops and hang the long tail from a tall IV pole



Hand model in video courtesy of Dr. Lamarr Echols




Juan Carlos Montoy, MD PhD

Juan Carlos Montoy, MD PhD

Research Fellow
Department of Emergency Medicine
UCSF - Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
Juan Carlos Montoy, MD PhD

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