Overview – What is it?
Dislocation is a term used to refer to the slipping of a bone out of a joint causing pain and temporarily immobilising the joint. This can be due to injury during sports and other accidents like motor vehicle accidents.
Some symptoms of dislocation are deformation of the joint, not being able to move the joint and intense pain. To diagnose dislocations, imaging tests like x-ray and MRI are used.
The treatment for dislocations can include surgery and using medication to relieve pain.
You can prevent yourself from getting a dislocation by wearing protective gear especially when playing sport, among other preventive measures.
Causes – What causes it?
Injury during sports like hockey, basketball and football, among other things can cause dislocations. Injuries can also occur due to a hard blow during motor vehicle accidents.
Other risk factors for dislocations:
- Loose ligaments: People who are born with looser ligaments that increase the risk of getting dislocations.
- Susceptibility to falls: Having increased falls raises the risk of having dislocations.
Diagnosis – How do you diagnose it?
- Physical exam: The injury is examined after which tests are done to confirm whether a person has a dislocation.
- Imaging tests: These are done using an x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to give images of the affected joint which can help in determining the treatment to be undertaken.
Treatment – How do you treat it?
Treatment of dislocations depends on the dislocated joint and the severity of the dislocation. Treatment options include:
- Manipulation: This is done to reposition the joint back into place once the patient has taken a sedative or is under anaesthesia which also allow the muscles near the dislocation to relax making the manipulation easier.
- Immobilisation: It involves wearing a sling, splint or cast after the joint has been repositioned. This happens until the joint is fully healed.
- Medication: Pain medication is given to help with relieving the pain and relaxing the muscles.
- Surgery: This is done only if the dislocation affects the nerves or blood vessels, or if the joint cannot be adjusted during repositioning. It can also be done if the dislocation is a recurring one. Through surgery, the dislocated joint can be repositioned or replaced with an artificial one.
- Rehabilitation: This is started after the sling or splint is removed to help in restoring joint range and strength.
Prevention – How do you prevent it?
- Avoid injuries during sports by wearing protective gear and playing carefully to avoid getting injured.
- Exercise regularly to make your joints flexible.
- Eat food that can help with strengthening your bones and joints.
- Ensure that you do not have things on the floor that can cause falling such as throw rugs or electrical cords.
- Use handrails when walking up or down staircases.
- Avoid standing on unstable items like chairs.
- Watch and supervise children carefully, especially when they are playing.
- Childproof your house.