Dislocations are joint injuries that force the ends of your bones out of position. The cause is often a fall or a blow, sometimes from playing a contact sport. You can dislocate your ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, elbows and jaw. You can also dislocate your finger and toe joints. Dislocated joints often are swollen, very painful and visibly out of place. You may not be able to move it.
A dislocated joint is an emergency. If you have one, seek medical attention. Treatment depends on which joint you dislocate and the severity of the injury. It might include manipulations to reposition your bones, medicine, a splint or sling, and rehabilitation. When properly repositioned, a joint will usually function and move normally again in a few weeks. Once you dislocate a shoulder or kneecap, you are more likely to dislocate it again. Wearing protective gear during sports may help prevent dislocations.
- Dislocation (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Treatments and Therapies
- Dislocation: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Dislocations (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Operative treatment of dislocated midshaft clavicular fractures: plate or intramedullary...
- Article: Secondary neurological deterioration in traumatic spinal injury: data from medicolegal...
- Article: The natural history of primary anterior dislocation of the glenohumeral...
- Dislocations -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Developmental Dislocation (Dysplasia) of the Hip (DDH) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- Dislocations (Nemours Foundation)
- Nursemaid's Elbow (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation)