Joint Dislocations

(Shoulder, Elbow, Knee & Hip)

What are joint dislocations, and how are they treated?

What Is a Joint Dislocation?

A joint dislocation occurs when one or more of the bones within a joint is pushed forcefully out of its correct anatomical position. This is commonly seen in the shoulder, elbow, hip, or knee.

Most joint dislocations are caused by either an accident or a direct blow to the joint. It is important to seek immediate medical attention after a dislocation occurs as other trauma to the joint, ligaments, or soft tissue may also have occurred.

Attempting to relocate the joint yourself is dangerous and should not be attempted. 

If you have experienced a joint dislocation, schedule an appointment today at OrthoNeuro with one of our board-certified orthopedic and sports medicine specialists! We have many locations throughout Greater Columbus for your convenience.

What Are the Most Common Dislocations?

Dislocations can happen in any of the joints of the body. Some of the most common joints to be dislocated are listed below.

  1. Shoulder dislocation: Shoulder dislocations are one of the most common joint dislocations. It is a ball and socket joint, making it easier to get dislocated than other joints.
  2. Hip dislocation: Hip dislocations are less likely to occur than other ball and socket joints because the ball sits much deeper in the joint and the muscles and ligaments are much bigger and stronger.
  3. Knee dislocation: The actual knee joint doesn’t usually become dislocated, but rather the patellar can move sideways off the groove that it usually slides over. It is therefore also known as a patellar dislocation.
  4. Elbow dislocation: The elbow joint is made up of three bones. If any one of these bones is knocked out of place, it can become dislocated.
  5. Finger dislocation: The finger is another one of the ball and socket joints that can dislocate easily.

If you have a joint dislocation the symptoms can include:

  • Severe pain in the joint
  • A visible deformity in the joint
  • Reduced mobility of the joint
  • Swelling and discoloration of the joint
  • Numbness or tingling around the joint

The board-certified orthopedic and sports medicine specialists at OrthoNeuro have helped thousands of patients with joint dislocations return to an active and healthy lifestyle using a variety of treatment options.

When to See a Doctor

You should seek medical treatment immediately if you think you have a dislocated joint. The dislocation may have caused other damage to surrounding muscles, ligaments, and blood vessels. Also, attempting to push the joint back in place can cause further damage to the muscles and ligaments that surround the joint.

How Joint Dislocation is Diagnosed

Dislocated joints are first examined by your doctor. They may move the joint to see the extent of the dislocation. The doctor may also order an X-ray to get a clearer idea of the dislocation.

How Is a Joint Dislocation Treated?

Most joint dislocations do not require surgery but do require the joint to be placed back into the correct position (reduction). Our specialists will use gentle maneuvers to place the joint back into the correct position, as well as examine if any tendon, ligament, or tissue damage has occurred.

Physical therapy may also be required to strengthen the joint.

How Long is Recovery?

Recovery will depend on the severity of the injury and the joint that is affected. Most people can return to their daily activities, such as school or work, as soon as the doctor has realigned the joint.

It will take longer for you to return to vigorous or strenuous activity. Your doctor will evaluate the severity of the dislocation and give you an accurate time frame for recovery.

What You Can Do to Prevent a Joint Dislocation

There are several things you can do to reduce the possibility of a joint dislocation. The following list highlights some things you can do to prevent dislocation.

  • Avoid falls by eliminating trip hazards
  • Use protective gear while playing contact sports
  • Keep physically active to maintain muscle and tendon strength
  • Maintain a healthy weight to keep excess pressure off the bones

These same steps can also help prevent recurrent dislocation.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!

If you suspect that you have a joint dislocation, schedule an appointment at OrthoNeuro today! Our board-certified orthopedic and sports medicine specialists are ready to help.

We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you. Contact one of our many offices in Columbus, OH today!

Medically reviewed by B. Rodney Comisar, MD, FAAOS

Knee Specialists


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