dislocation, joint

The dislocation, joint - Complete displacement of the two bones in a joint so that they are no longer in contact, usually as a result of injury. (Displacement that leaves the bones in partial contact is called subluxation.) It is usually accompanied by tearing of the joint ligaments and damage to the membrane encasing the joint.

Dislocation restricts or prevents the movement of the joint; it is usually very painful. The affected joint looks misshapen and swells. Injuries that are severe enough to cause dislocation often also cause fractures. In some cases, dislocation is followed by complications such as paralysis.


The joint may be X-rayed to confirm dislocation and check for fracture. The bones are then manipulated back into their proper position, or an operation is performed to reset them. The bones are then immobilized in a splint or cast to allow healing to take place.


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