Joint dislocation

Two bones are located at a joint; a dislocation separates two bones. A dislocated joint makes the position of the bones abnormal. You must consider joint dislocation as an emergency and seek medical attention because if left untreated it may cause damage to ligaments, blood vessels or nerves.

Types of joint dislocations

  • Hip joint dislocation
  • Knee joint dislocation
  • Elbow joint dislocation/li>
  • Ankle joint dislocation
  • Shoulder joint dislocation


Joint dislocation occurs when you experience any expected or unexpected falls, injuries or accidents. After a joint dislocation, you are more likely to dislocate the joint again in the future so you must be careful enough to use the dislocated joint in future too.


It is really difficult to estimate if the bone is just dislocated or even broken or crushed. So, it is worth to immediately rush to an emergency room for medicals supervision.

Your doctor may examine the affected joint. He/she will check if the circulation to the joint is interrupted or perfect.

Your doctor may order for further tests to understand if the bone is broken or just dislocated. Your doctor may suggest you to go for an X-ray imaging and also other diagnostic tests such as MRI to understand the severity of the joint dislocation.


Prevention is always better than cure, to prevent a joint dislocation, you must

  • Take safety precautions that avoid falls
  • Instruct your kids or supervise them while they are playing
  • Avoid recurrence of re-dislocation of joints as the joint has a history of dislocation is more likely to dislocate in future

Risk factors

Risk factors for a joint dislocation include:

  • Hereditary
  • Unexpected falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents

In most severe cases you may easily view the dislocated joint. The location can be swollen or bruised; it may get discolored, bent or change its shape.

Other symptoms would include:

  • Pain when the part is tried to move
  • Feeling numb around the affected area
  • Tingling sensation near the traumatized area
  • Loss of the range of motion near the affected limb or part

The basic treatment for joint dislocation includes RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation). These techniques would be as a first aid for the joint dislocated patient. In severe cases your doctor would indicate other treatment options that include:


This treatment option includes repositioning of the dislocated joint back to its normal state. Your doctor would give you an anesthetic while performing the technique because it may be painful. Anesthesia also lets you avoid contracting the muscles while performing repositioning.


Once your joint comes back to its position, your doctor would make your joint immobile by fixing casts, slings or splints. This prevents your joint from moving. You must keep your joint immobile based on the severity of the injury.


Your doctor would prescribe painkillers to relieve the pain near the site or may prescribe muscle relaxants in case if the pain persists.


If your doctor cannot reposition back, you’re joint, or if the dislocation caused damage to your nerves or blood vessels then the best treatment option would be a surgery. Surgery also is needed in the patients who have dislocated the same joint which was previously dislocated. Your doctor would surgically fix the displaced joint, and this can prevent radiolocation.


Rehabilitation is advised after your joint is replaced back and after your casts or splints are removed. It involves making you regain the better range of motion near the joint. It is also helpful in restoring the joint’s strength and flexibility. But, this must be a slow process because you must be careful not to reinjure yourself.