A dislocation can come from a blow, a fall or an auto accident

Dislocation is what happens when joints (where bones meet) shift from their normal position usually as a result of a fall or forceful impact. When we fall, we naturally reach with a hand, elbow or arm to cushion our fall. When playing contact or high-impact sports, the shoulders, fingers, knees and hips are all vulnerable to dislocation. The impact of a car accident can also cause our joints to dislocate.

Pain is the main symptom of a dislocated joint

Aside from feeling intense pain, you may also experience these signs of joint dislocation:

  • Abnormal bone shape or protrusion
  • Inability to move that part of your body
  • Redness and swelling around the joint
  • Tingling sensation or numbness near the joint

Unless you are a medical professional, it may be difficult to tell the difference between a dislocation and a break. Both situations require emergency care.

Treatment and healing of joint dislocation

Joint dislocation may affect surrounding nerves and tissues, and you may have broken bones as well. Your doctor can determine the extent of your injury from an X-ray or MRI. Treatment may include gentle manipulation to get your bones back in place, and immobilization, such as with a splint, to make sure the bones stay put. Some dislocations also require surgery. Such treatments are often followed by rehabilitation therapy to help you to heal more quickly and ease your body back into moving comfortably and naturally.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.