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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. 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. 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 to look for include:

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

Joint Dislocation Treatment 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.

About the Musculoskeletal Institute

The Musculoskeletal Institute at UT Health Austin works to improve the overall health of every patient. Whether you are suffering from chronic joint pain or an injury, our doctor-led care teams work to find treatment goals to fit your lifestyle. We understand that improving your quality of life is important to you, which is why our team will work with you to personalize your treatment plan. For some patients, your goal may be to set a personal record when you run your next marathon. For others, it may be to comfortably play with your grandkids at the park. Whatever your goals, we’ll work with you to achieve them.