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Condition. Dislocation

By Editorial Team (Y)
November 27, 2021
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What is a joint dislocation?

A joint is a point where two and more bones in your body meet. A joint dislocation happens when the ends of your bones are forced to move out of their normal positions, causing an injury to the joint. This causes pain, and it also temporarily makes it impossible for you to use the injured joint. When you look at the joint, you can see that the bones are not in their regular positions.


Joint dislocation can occur in many joints, including the hips, knees, and elbows, but they often happen in the fingers and shoulders. With medical treatment, most cases of joint dislocation return to their normal level of functioning within a few weeks.

Joint dislocation risks

Certain factors increase your risk of joint dislocation development. These include:

  • Being at an increased risk of falling: Being susceptible to falling makes places you at joint dislocation risk, either due to forcefully landing on the part of your body or attempting to break your fall with your hands. 
  • Heredity: Certain inherited characteristics make joint dislocations more likely, such as a tendency toward weakened ligaments.  
  • Participation in contact sports: This includes activities like football, basketball, wrestling, and high-impact sports like gymnastics. 
  • Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of dislocated hips. Wearing a seat belt helps to decrease your risk significantly. 

Causes of joint dislocation

Dislocations of joints frequently occur during sports activities such as:

  • Contact sports: hockey, football, basketball, wrestling 
  • Sports that include potential falls: volleyball, gymnastics, downhill skiing

Football, basketball, and volleyball players also often cause joint dislocation in fingers when they accidentally strike the ground, another player, or the ball. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are other frequent causes of dislocations that occur due to forceful blows to a joint.

Classification of dislocation

When a joint is dislocated, there are many possibilities to consider in classification. In order to make sure that everyone involved with the patient’s case is considering the same type and location of the injury, dislocations are described in exact detail. The classification of a dislocation takes into account:

  • what joint was involved
  • what direction the bone farthest from the body’s midsection the displacement took
  • whether the dislocation caused a break in the skin
  • whether there were any broken bones related to the dislocation
  • whether the dislocation was able to be reduced without surgery or if it was irreducible

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