Pop! Is something out of joint?
Maybe it’s a dislocation.
Dislocations occur by forcing a bone out of its joint. This can happen to any joint in your body and can cause significant pain. While a dislocation can occur at any joint, some of the most common include knees, hips, shoulders, fingers, toes, and ankles.
If you believe you’ve had a dislocation, you should seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, you can experience lasting damage to blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles.
While treatment options vary, repositioning the bone will always be necessary. To ensure proper positioning, a medical professional should always assist. So, never attempt this alone – remember, it’s a joint effort!
What are common symptoms of a dislocation?
Common symptoms include:
- A visibly out of place body part
- Pain in the affected area
- Loss of motion
- Numbness or tingling
- Swelling & bruising
While many dislocations appear obvious, others may not. In these cases, a doctor can use an X-ray.
What are common causes of dislocation?
Force is necessary for a bone to move out of place. This means that accidents are a common cause of dislocation, including:
- A hard fall, like on a patch of ice or on stairs
- A sports-related injury
- A high-speed collision (car, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, skiing, etc.)
How long does a dislocation last?
Once the bone is back in place, damage caused by minor dislocations may fully heal within a few weeks. More severe dislocations may take several weeks to heal and need long-term care, like physical therapy.
For treatment, the first step in repositioning the bone back into place. Once completed, further treatment options include:
- Medication for pain
- A sling, splint, or cast for immobilization
- Physical therapy for rehabilitation
After you’ve experienced a dislocation, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for care. This will help to ensure proper recovery and help to avoid future complications, including the bone coming out of place again.
How to prevent dislocation?
It’s not possible to avoid each and every accident. However, taking safety precautions can help you to avoid injuries. For example, always use the guardrail when walking up and downstairs, and use caution around slippery surfaces. If you have impaired eyesight, always wear your glasses or contacts. Around the house, avoid spills by keeping rooms well lit.