What Is Joint Dislocation?

Dislocation injury

A dislocation is a separation of two bones where they meet at a joint.

This injury can be very painful and can temporarily deform and immobilize the joint. The most common locations for a dislocation are shoulders and fingers, but can also occur in elbows, knees and hips.

The cause is often a fall or a blow, sometimes from playing a contact sport.


Signs and symptoms of a dislocation include:

  • Joint is visibly deformed or out of place
  • Numbness or tingling at the joint
  • Swollen or discolored
  • Limited ability to move
  • Intense pain

Treatment at Penn

Treatment of a dislocation depends on the location of the joint and the severity of the injury.

Initial treatment for a dislocation involves rest, ice, compression and elevation. Sometimes, the dislocated joint might go back into place naturally after this treatment. If this does not occur, there are a number of treatments your doctor may use.

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