Is A Dislocated Joint an Emergency

The joints in your body are the areas where two or three bones connect and bend. A dislocated joint is an injury that is caused by an impact forcing the bones in a joint out of their natural positions; common causes of this trauma can be accidents or falls, car accidents, or collisions, especially during contact sports. The body’s larger joints are more likely to dislocate than the smaller joints, though all the joints can dislocate. In adults, the most commonly dislocated joint is the shoulder, while children are more likely to dislocate their elbow.

The fingers and thumb are also prone to dislocation if too much force bends them in an abnormal way. When a joint dislocates, it will often lead to sudden swelling and pain, and the joint may be immobilized or even visibly deformed. If you believe you have a dislocated joint, get medical help immediately, and don’t try to move the joint.

While you wait to see your doctor, maintain the joint in the dislocated position, stabilizing it with a splint, to avoid damaging the joint itself as well as the surrounding tissues. Applying ice to the injured area can help control swelling by managing the accumulation of blood and fluids around the injury, relieving pressure and discomfort.

A dislocated joint should absolutely be considered an emergency, and immediate medical attention can help prevent long-term damage. Medical treatment for a dislocated joint will depend on the joint that is injured and the extent of the injury. Non-surgical treatment includes manual manipulation of the bones to gently reposition them; doctors may use sedatives or anesthesia to relax the muscles, and the patient, before urging them back into place.

Once the bones have been repositioned, the patient may be instructed to hold the joint immobile with a sling or splint for a prescribed period of time, and they will also receive instructions for rehabilitation, which will include gentle stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles and tissues that support the joint and discourage future injury.

Most of the time, a dislocated joint that has been repositioned and rehabilitated will function normally within a few weeks. Certain joints, however, will be more prone to dislocation after it has happened once; this is particularly a risk with the shoulder and the kneecap. If you play sports, wear protective gear to protect your joints from impact and keep them safe from dislocation.

Dislocated joints are not uncommon in contact sports like hockey, football, and rugby, and they are also prevalent in sports that involve falling, like volleyball. It is also possible to dislocate a finger by striking it too hard against a ball, and dislocated fingers are a regular affliction for many basketball and football players.

Joints can also dislocate on impact during a car accident, or if you fall and land wrong on your arm. To avoid a dislocated joint, be careful to avoid falls. If you are older or prone to falling, make sure to keep an updated eyeglass prescription and ask your pharmacist if you should be concerned about dizziness associated with any of your medications.

Try to avoid trip hazards in your home and the areas where you regularly walk. If you play sports, wear protective gear. Be aware that joints that have dislocated once are often more susceptible to future dislocation, and work with your physical therapist to strengthen and stabilize the muscles and tendons that support the joint and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.