About Joint Dislocations

A dislocation typically occurs when a joint experiences an unexpected or unbalanced impact such as from a fall or harsh hit to the affected area causing the bone to slip out of the joint. Dislocations can happen to almost any joint in the body but most commonly occur in the knee, hip, ankle or shoulder. Severe or untreated dislocations may cause ligament or tendon tears or damage nerves and once a joint has dislocated once there is a much higher risk of the joint dislocating again in the future.

Symptoms of Joint Dislocations

Symptoms joint dislocation may include:

  • Deformity and loss of motion
  • Swelling and pain
  • Numbness or tingling around the area
  • Weakness
  • Bruising

Risk Factors for Joint Dislocations

Anyone of any age can experience a joint dislocation, however, the elderly and children are at a higher risk due to higher bone sensitivity or likelihood of injury.

Treating Joint Dislocations at UT Health Austin

It may be difficult to determine whether your bone is broken or a dislocation has occurred and you should go to an emergency room or see your physician as quickly as possible. To determine the exact diagnosis of your injury x-rays or in some cases more advanced imaging such as MRI may be required. Upon evaluation or your injury your treatment may vary depending on the extent of the damage. Repositioning of your joint back into place may be required if it does not return naturally. After the joint returns to its proper place you may be asked to wear a sling, splint or cast for several weeks to prevent movement in the area allowing it to fully heal. Medication and rehabilitation may also be built into your treatment plan to reduce pain and regain strength and mobility. If the dislocation was severe and resulted in damaged nerves or blood vessels surgery may be necessary to repair structural damage. Throughout the course of your treatment, your care team will work with you to understand the risks and benefits and what you can expect throughout your recovery.

Care Team Approach

At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Musculoskeletal Institute care team includes orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, physiatrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.

We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to customize a treatment plan specific to you. Treatment may include nonsurgical interventions, such as lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, or medication and injections, or surgery may be the best course of action to help improve your pain and function. Advanced imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.

Learn More About Your Care Team

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Musculoskeletal Institute

Health Transformation Building, 9th Floor
1601 Trinity Street, Bldg. A, Austin, Texas 78712
1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737)
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