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Joints are areas where two bones come together. A dislocated bone is no longer in its normal position.
Dislocations are usually caused by a sudden impact to the joint. This usually occurs following a blow, fall, or other trauma. It may be hard to tell a dislocated bone from a broken bone. Both are an emergency. You will need the same first aid treatment.
Most dislocations can be treated in a doctor’s office or emergency room.
When treated early, most dislocations will not result in permanent injury.
- Injuries to the surrounding tissues generally take three to six weeks to heal. Sometimes, surgery to repair a torn ligament is needed.
- Injuries to nerves and blood vessels may result in more long-term or permanent problems.
Once a joint has been dislocated, it is more likely to happen again. Follow-up with an orthopedic surgeon is recommended after a dislocation.
A dislocated joint may be:
- Accompanied by numbness or tingling at the joint or beyond it
- Intensely painful, especially if you try to use the joint or bear weight on it
- Limited in movement
- Swollen or bruised
- Visibly out of place, discolored, or misshapen
Preventing injuries in children:
- Create a safe environment around your home.
- Pay careful attention to preventing falls by gating stairways and keeping windows closed and locked.
- Supervise children carefully. There is no substitute for close supervision no matter how safe the environment or situation appears to be.
- Teach children how to be safe and look out for themselves.
Preventing dislocations in adults:
- Avoid falls by not standing on chairs, countertops, or other unstable objects.
- Eliminate throw rugs, especially for the elderly.
- Wear protective gear when participating in contact sports.
For all age groups:
- Keep a first aid kit handy.
- Remove electrical cords from floor surfaces.
- Use handrails on staircases.
- Use nonskid mats on the bottom of the bathtubs and avoid bath oils.