Dislocation is a state that occurs when the bones of a joint are knocked out of place. A joint can be partially dislocated or fully dislocated. A dislocation can be caused by trauma (accident or fall) or weakening muscles and tendons. A dislocated joint can be treated through medication, manipulation, rest, or surgery.
The location where two or more bones come together in the body is called a joint. The bones in a joint are breaking down or knocked out of their ordinary places. Any joint may be dislocated in the body. The joint is called a subluxation when partly dislocated.
Dislocations can be extremely painful and cause the affected joint region to be unstable or immobile (unable to move). They can also strain or tear the underlying muscles, nerves, and tendons (tissue that connects the bones at a joint). You should be getting urgent attention for dislocation.
Dislocations are very common here. They can happen to any joint in the body, but most commonly they impact these joints:
What causes a dislocation?
Trauma, that pushes a joint out of alignment, induces dislocation. Car crashes, falling and contact games such as soccer are frequent causes of this injury.
Dislocations often occur during daily exercises when muscles and tendons around the joint are weak. These accidents occur most frequently in elderly adults who have poor muscles and balancing difficulties.
What are the symptoms of a dislocation?
Symptoms of a dislocation vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. The symptoms of a dislocated joint include:
How is a dislocation diagnosed?
Your doctor may diagnose a dislocation by looking at and moving the joint and asking about what caused the injury.
In some cases, a doctor will use an imaging test called an X-ray to take a picture of your bones. This test allows the doctor to see the exact location and severity of the dislocation.
How is a dislocation managed or treated?
Treatment can vary based on the severity of the injury and which joint is dislocated. Applying ice and keeping the joint elevated can help reduce pain while you wait to see a doctor.
Treatments for dislocations include:
What complications are associated with dislocation?
Many dislocations do not have severe or long-lasting complications. When the bones that make up the joint slip out of alignment, they will cause the tendons, ligaments, and muscles surrounding the joint to break. It may also cause bones to break up often. Your doctor may prescribe surgery to correct these injuries.
Any severely dislocated joints can destroy the nerves and blood vessels around the joint. If the blood cannot circulate to the infected region, the surrounding tissue will die. In order to reduce the risk of injury, it is vital that the badly dislocated joints be immediately placed back in place by the doctor.
What are the risk factors for dislocation?
Anyone can suffer a dislocation. People at higher risk include those:
Can a dislocation be prevented?
You can take several steps to reduce the risk of a dislocation. They include:
When should I call the doctor?
If you suspect you have a dislocated joint, call the doctor immediately. Don't want to force the dislocation back to your own position. This effort could weaken the muscles and tissues around the joint and lead to complications.
What questions should I ask my doctor?
If you have a dislocated joint, you may want to ask your doctor:
When can I go back to work? When can my child go back to school?
The healing period for dislocations differs depending on the joint and the seriousness of the injury. Most people will go back to work or school after the specialist has restored the dislocated joint to its correct place.
A splint or sling will help stabilize the joint so that you can get back to normal day-to-day life until the joint recovers completely. Your doctor will tell you whether you should get back to more physical tasks, such as athletics, chores, or heavy work.