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When to Seek Medical Help for Dislocations?

Jan 19, 2023

Urgent Care

Medical Help for Dislocation

A dislocation is an injury to a joint that occurs when the bones are partially or completely moved out of their usual positions. While any joint can be dislocated, joints in the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee are mostly affected. Read on to learn more about dislocations and how to treat and prevent them.

How Do Dislocations Occur?

Causes of dislocations include:

  • A direct blow to the joint resulting from a fall or accident

  • Overstretching or overuse of the joint

  • Congenital bone disease

Who Are at High Risk of a Dislocation?

While anyone can suffer a dislocation, those involved in contact sports, such as football or basketball, or who have weakened joints due to age or a medical condition are at high risk of dislocation. 

How Do You Know If You Have a Dislocation?

The symptoms of a dislocation depend on the severity of the injury, which may include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling 

  • Limited movement 

  • Deformed, bruised, or discolored joint 

  • Numbness or tingling sensation

How Is a Dislocated Joint Diagnosed?

A dislocation is usually diagnosed through a physical exam. The doctor will check the affected joint for tenderness, swelling, and deformity. X-rays may also be taken to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out fractures.

Treatments for a Dislocation

  • The treatment for a dislocation depends on the severity of the injury. 

  • If your dislocation is mild, it can be reversed with closed reduction. A closed reduction procedure involves manually repositioning the dislocated joint. During the procedure, you will be given anesthesia to minimize pain and discomfort. 

  • Following the procedure, an X-ray is performed to see whether the dislocated joint is properly repositioned. Once moved in place, the joint may be splinted or immobilized in a cast or brace to keep it in position while it heals.

Surgery may be needed to reposition the joint if:

  • The closed reduction procedure did not work

  • Your dislocation causes damage to the surrounding muscles, blood vessels, ligaments, or bones that need immediate attention

What Questions Should I Ask My Physician?

If you are diagnosed with a dislocation, ask your doctor about the treatment options available and the risks and benefits of each treatment option. You can also ask about the signs of complications you need to watch out for and how long it will take for the joint to heal. 

When Can I Resume My Job?

The amount of time it takes to return to work after a dislocation depends on the severity of the injury and the type of treatment recommended. You can return to work after your joint has properly healed and the swelling and pain have subsided, which can take 12 to 16 weeks.

When Can My Child Return to School?

While generally, it can take 4-6 weeks for a child to return to school after a dislocation, the recovery period varies from one child to another depending on:

  • The area that has been dislocated

  • The extent of the dislocation

  • Recommended treatments

 How to Prevent a Dislocation?

The best ways to prevent a dislocation are:

  • Wearing protective gear when playing sports

  • Avoiding activities that put a lot of strain on the joint, especially if you have weakened bones

  • Being cautious on stairs, uneven surfaces, and other sliding areas to prevent slips and falls 

  • Exercising daily to strengthen your bones and muscles 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the joints

What Is the Outlook Moving Forward?

Most dislocations can be successfully treated and the affected joint can be restored to full function. However, in some cases, the joint may be weakened, and conditions like arthritis and joint instability may develop.

So, you should seek immediate medical help as soon as your joint is dislocated or you experience any related symptoms. Waiting too long to get treatment can aggravate the symptoms, resulting in complications. 

Get Prompt Joint Dislocation Treatment at Metro Urgent Care 

At Metro Urgent Care, we are committed to delivering effective and appropriate treatment that helps return your bones to their actual positions. So, whether you suffer from partial dislocation (subluxation) or complete dislocation, visit us for prompt medical care and attention. You can also book an appointment online to avoid wait times. 

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