Is a Break or Dislocated Joint Worse

If excessive force is applied to a bone, this can break the bone; a broken bone is called a fracture. If disproportionate or excessive force is applied to a joint, this can cause the bones that join in the joint to slip or pop out of place; when this happens, it is called a dislocated joint.

The force that causes a fracture may come from force that’s applied directly onto the bone, or from force that is transmitted from one bone to another. Children’s bones, which are more flexible, are less likely to break than adults’ bones, and older adults are more likely to break bones than younger adults, as the bones become more brittle as people age. In a compound fracture, the skin that lies over the fracture has been cut open, usually by the bone itself, exposing the bone and the break.

Compound fractures are especially dangerous, as the exposed tissue is highly susceptible to infection. Compound dislocations are often accompanied by compound fractures and are also very dangerous. The force that causes a dislocation is usually sudden and intense, and dislocations can be difficult to distinguish from fractures. Dislocations are often caused by a harsh blow, fall, or other impact or trauma, and it is not uncommon for dislocations to have an accompanying fracture in one of the bones involved. When a fracture and dislocation are both present, the long-term viability of the area faces a higher risk, and prompt diagnosis and treatment is imperative.

Usually, a dislocated joint remains dislocated until it is returned to position by a doctor, but dislocations can sometimes return to normal on their own. Dislocated joints can be very painful and can look deformed, displaced, or bent at an odd angle. Dislocations and fractures may also be accompanied by damage to the blood vessels, nerves, and surrounding tissues, and chronic dislocations can lead to long-lasting problems and a higher likelihood of future dislocations.

Clearly, there are serious fractures and serious dislocations, so it’s impossible to say whether a fracture or dislocation is worse. Both dislocations and fractures require a doctor for diagnosis, and you should seek medical attention immediately if you believe you’ve dislocated a joint or broken a bone.

While doctors can sometimes diagnose dislocations with a visual and physical assessment and a review of symptoms and the circumstances of the injury, x-rays may be necessary to determine the exact area and severity of the dislocation and to gauge whether any fracture is present, and MRIs may be recommended to assess the damage borne by the soft tissues surrounding the dislocation. Fractures are diagnosed using x-rays and may also require MRIs, depending on the extent of the injury.

Treatment for dislocations and fractures also depends on the area affected and the severity of the injury. Dislocated joints are manually reset and then immobilized with a sling or splint; broken bones are manually reset and then immobilized with a cast.

The prognosis of both is greatly dependent on the extent and location of the injury, and in all cases, early diagnosis and prompt treatment, followed by effective rehabilitation, can reduce the risk of future problems with the bones and joints.

Is A Dislocated Joint an Emergency