A dislocation happens when damage occurs to a joint, wherein the bone slips out of a joint, away from its usual positions. It is a painful injury that transitorily breaks and immobilizes the joint.

It is most common in the shoulders and fingers and may occur to elbows, knees and hips. When you suspect a dislocation, get the advice of the doctor immediately to restore the bones positions.

Most bone dislocations return to normal state and function after several weeks of rest and rehabilitation when you get proper treatment. But there is a greater risk of repeat dislocation in some joints, such as the shoulder.

Understand the symptoms

When dislocation of the joint happens, the joint is visibly deformed or out of place, gets swollen or discolored, is intensely painful, immovable, causing difficulty in movement.

Consult the doctor

It is difficult to differentiate between a broken bone from a dislocated bone. However, you must get medical help immediately in both cases. Wherever possible, ice the joint and keep it immobile until the doctor examines your condition.

Know the causes

Dislocations may happen in contact sports like football, hockey and in sports where falls are common, such as downhill skiing, gymnastics and volleyball.

The joint dislocation in their fingers and hands may commonly occur among basketball players and football players due to accidental strike of the ball, the ground, or another player.

During a motor vehicle accident, a hard blow to a joint can occur or when you land on an outstretched arm during a fall.

Recognize the risks

Factors that raise a risk of joint dislocation are:

• Sensitivity to falls increases the chances of a dislocated joint such as when you use your arms to support the shock or land forcefully on a body part, like your hip or shoulder.
• For some, it is heredity as they are born with ligaments that are looser and more likely to get damaged over others.
• Participating in high-impact or contact sports, like gymnastics, wrestling, basketball, and football, raises the risk.
• Motor vehicle accidents are also among the common reasons for hip dislocations, mainly when people do not wear a seat belt.

Associated complexities

The primary complications of a joint dislocation include:

• Tearing or weakening of the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the hurt joint
• Nerve or blood vessel breakage in or around your joint
• Sensitivity to reinjury, when you had a severe displacement or repeated dislocations
• Development of arthritis in the injured joint with age

A stretch or tear of ligaments or tendons that support your injured joint or damage to nerves or blood vessels enclosing the joint might need surgery to repair it.

Measures for prevention

Limit the chances of joint dislocation with these steps:

• Take sufficient care to avoid falls, such as regular eyes checks, check with the doctor or pharmacist about the medication you take and if it causes dizziness. Ensure your home is well-lighted and remove any potential tripping hazards in your walkways.
• Wear proper protective gear during contact sports.
• You are more likely to get future dislocations if you had a joint displacement once. Hence, do the strength and stability exercises that your doctor or physical therapist has advised to improve joint support.

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