Dislocation, General

A dislocation is a condition in which joint surfaces which are normally next to each other are no longer against each other. The bones are out of place.


This is usually associated with pain, swelling and an inability to move the joint. There is also a deformity of the joint.


This diagnosis is easily made on examination. X-rays are often taken to make sure a broken bone (fracture) is not present.


Joint dislocations need treatment. Treatment involves putting the bones back in place (reduction). If left untreated, the dislocation can result in deformities with an unstable joint. Some joint dislocations which result in extensive damage to ligaments, cartilage, and other tissue may require surgery.


  • Put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes, 03-04 times per day. Do this while awake, for the first 2 days.

  • Keep the injured part raised (elevated) if possible, to lessen swelling.

  • Continue activities as directed.

  • If a lower extremity was dislocated, use crutches, a cane, or a walker as directed.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


  • There is an increase in bruising, swelling, or pain in the area of the dislocated joint.

  • You notice coldness or numbness of the parts beyond the dislocation.

  • There is no pain relief from medicines.

  • There is severe pain.

  • It appears or feels like the bones are out of place again.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.