MedClinic > Blog > Traumatology > Joint dislocation


Joint dislocation – displacement of the bony parts of the joint. Dislocation occurs with joint injuries and due to the development of degenerative processes – arthritis or arthrosis. Displacement of the joint bones during injury occurs sharply due to mechanical stress. There is a concept of congenital dislocation of joint, which occurs in the foetus during its development in the womb. This type of pathology will periodically manifest itself in a person throughout his life.

Dislocation of joint has different degrees of severity. The most severe type is a joint injury with rupture of capsule, damage to ligaments, blood vessels and roots of nerve endings. Dislocation of the shoulder joint, elbow and knee – injuries inherent in athletes involved in contact sports (they are most often diagnosed with dislocation of the ankle joint), but household cases of injury are also common.

The main symptoms of joint dislocation are temporary immobilization of the damaged limb and severe pain, which intensifies when trying any movement.

Signs of joint dislocation

With dislocation, symptoms of displacement of the bony parts of joint occur immediately; their intensity depends on the severity of the injury and which particular joint was injured. Hip dislocation is characterized not only by pain but also by a change in the patient’s gait.

Dislocation of the knee joint of congenital nature is accompanied by severe pain, gait deformation, inflammation of joint bag.

Dislocation of the elbow joint is manifested by severe swelling at the site of lesion, pain and inability to move the limb.

General clinical manifestations of joint dislocation:

  • pain;
  • redness;
  • severe swelling;
  • joint deformation;
  • loss of sensitivity (if a nerve ending was damaged during dislocation);
  • increased body temperature;

Therapeutic measures

Diagnosis of joint dislocation is carried out by examining the patient and palpating the damaged area. To confirm the initial diagnosis, an additional medical examination is performed – an x-ray.

Treatment of dislocation of joint implies its reduction into place. Only a doctor can do this; it is strictly forbidden to reduce yourself! Depending on the severity of the dislocation, the reduction is performed using local or general anaesthesia, since this procedure is very painful. When the joint is put to its physiological location, a click is heard.

After dislocation is repaired, the patient needs to undergo a rehabilitation course, which includes physiotherapy. The main task of the rehabilitation period is to restore mobility to the joint and prevent the development of inflammatory and degenerative processes.

For the joint to fully restore its previous functionality, it takes 30-40 days. During the recovery period, the patient needs to limit movement of the damaged joint and protect it from physical activity.

If the dislocation of the joint was triggered by the development of degenerative processes of the musculoskeletal system, they must be treated without fail to prevent relapse. With dislocation of congenital form, treatment should be started as early as possible – the younger the child is, the faster and easier rehabilitation will go. In case of severe dislocations, accompanied by damage to blood vessels and nerve endings, surgery may be necessary.

You can return to physical activity after dislocation of joint no earlier than after 1.5 months, the intensity of physical activity should be increased gradually, otherwise, the joint may be injured again.