posted by Michael Carlson, MD | October 2, 2017
A joint is the meeting point of two or more bones in the body. If the ends of these bones are forced from their normal position in the joint, dislocation can occur. Dislocations are painful and will temporarily deform and immobilize the affected joint.
Most common in the shoulders and fingers, dislocations can also occur in elbows, knees and hips. When treated properly, dislocations usually return to their normal function. However, certain joints carry an increased risk of repeat dislocation, including the shoulder.
Symptoms and Complications
Symptoms of a dislocated joint may include:
In some cases, a dislocation is tough to tell apart from a broken bone. In either situation, seeking immediate medical attention is recommended.
Complications of a joint dislocation may include:
Causes and Risk Factors
Dislocations regularly occur in people who play contact sports or in sports where falls are common. Certain sports like basketball and football see finger dislocations due to accidental striking of the ball, the ground or another player. Hard blows or angles during falls are also common causes of dislocations.
A few factors may increase your risk of experiencing a dislocation:
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to a physical examination, your doctor may order an X-ray or an MRI to help confirm a dislocation or other damage that may have occurred. Treatment depends on the area that was dislocated and the severity; it may involve:
There are a few things you can do to prevent a dislocation:
If you have dislocated a joint, seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor can offer recommendations for pain reduction and treatment.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.