Dislocation: what it is, causes, treatments, prevention and more


What is dislocation?

Dislocation is the displacement of one or more bones in a joint and occurs when a force acts directly or indirectly on our body. In medical terms, it is defined as loss of joint contact, that is, the separation of two bones that are usually interconnected through the cartilage.

When the displacement between the bones is partial and some part of each surface is in contact with the other, it is called sub-dislocation. The dislocation can sometimes be related to a fracture of a bone, which confuses it with a sprain or contusion. For the avoidance of doubt, we briefly explain what each of the three conditions below is:

  • Dislocation: displacement of the bone;
  • Sprain: injury caused by excessive movement of a joint;
  • Bruise: injury to some part of the body (eg, muscles).

Index – In this article you will find the following information:

  1. What is dislocation?
  2. Types of Dislocation
  3. Most common joints to suffer dislocation
  4. What are the dislocation risk groups
  5. The causes of dislocation
  6. Dislocation symptoms
  7. What is the diagnosis for Dislocation
  8. How is the treatment for Dislocation
  9. First aid for cases of dislocation
  10. Complications of Dislocation
  11. How to prevent me from dislocation

Types of Dislocation

Dislocation can occur in two types: complete or incomplete.

Complete Dislocation

Complete dislocation is the one in which the bones that make up a joint are completely disunited.

Incomplete dislocation

Also called sub-dislocation, incomplete dislocation is, as explained at the beginning of the article, the displacement of bones that occurs in a reduced way, where the bones do not separate completely.

Most common joints to suffer dislocation

As much as any joint is vulnerable to a dislocation, there are some parts of the body where the condition is more recurrent, such as:

  • Shoulder;
  • Hip;
  • Knee;
  • Femur;
  • Elbow;
  • Ankle;
  • Fingers.

There is still not much statistical data on the occurrence of the dislocation, but some studies indicate that dislocation in the shoulder is the most common, reaching about 1.5% to 2% in the general population and 7% in athletes.

What are the dislocation risk groups

It is important to be aware that the dislocation can occur in anyone, but as in any situation, it also has some risk groups and you can check which ones are below.

  • Athletes;
  • Seniors;
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Babies and children;
  • People with congenital disabilities, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

The causes of dislocation

There are several events that can cause a dislocation in our body:

  • Direct or indirect trauma;
  • Falls;
  • Fracture;
  • Congenital injury;
  • Ligament, capsular or muscular laxity caused by chronic diseases.

Regardless of the cause, the dislocation can cause some consequences in other parts of the body, such as rupture of tendons, which must be treated later with physical therapy.

Dislocation symptoms

Most of the time, when the dislocation happens, you are able to identify the displacement of the bone in the body, and in addition, the pain occurs as immediately as the displacement. There are a few other symptoms, however, that are also linked with dislocation:

  • Loss of movement;
  • Pain during movement;
  • Numbness around the traumatized area;
  • Tingling sensation.

What is the diagnosis for Dislocation

Although the clinical examination performed by the doctor is already decisive for the diagnosis of the dislocation, he is not able to be precise about the injured site. For this, it is necessary to perform an x-ray for confirmation to be made. In addition to this confirmation, the procedure can also identify whether or not there was a fracture at the time the trauma occurred.

In cases of congenital hip dislocation, other measures can be taken, such as early diagnosis in newborns, which includes two maneuvers:

  • Ortolani maneuver: tactile sensation when separating the thighs through knee and hip flexion.
  • Barlow’s maneuver: determining whether there is instability in the child’s hip and consists of actively causing the displacement of the femur on the side of the body.

In addition to these measures, the doctor may subsequently order an MRI and CT scan to identify whether the dislocation has caused any damage to muscles or ligaments.

How is the treatment for Dislocation

The treatment for the dislocation must, of course, be with a doctor and we explain why.

The process is painful and is based on putting the bone back in the place of origin. Most of the time, the patient is under analgesics or local anesthesia during the procedure. Depending on the case of the dislocation, it may require surgical intervention. This process of relocating the joint needs to be done as soon as possible, because when displaced, it can compromise the body’s blood supply.

After this part, it is necessary that the patient has the joint bandaged and immobilized, in order to have a better healing and avoid other possible dislocations. During the recovery time, which varies according to the degree of the dislocation, some medications are prescribed by the doctor so that the patient can endure the pain. These drugs are usually painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as:

  • Diclofenac ;
  • Ibuprofen ;
  • Naproxen ;
  • Paracetamol.

When the joint is recovered, it is recommended that the patient undergo a few physiotherapy sessions, so that the complete recovery of movements is performed.

Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Dislocation

Some homeopathic or herbal anti-inflammatory medications are indicated to the patient, according to their clinical situation. Before using them, it is always a good idea to ask your doctor if it is good for your condition.

Homeopathy for Dislocation

  • Arnica montana 6CH;
  • Ruta graveolens 6CH;
  • Rhus toxicodendron 6 CH.

Phytotherapy for Dislocation

  • Janauba bark;
  • Arnica compress;
  • Application (with gauze) of latex extracted from the branches and leaves of physic nut;
  • Mango tea.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

First aid for cases of dislocation

When you notice any case of dislocation, whether in yourself or in an acquaintance, pay attention to the first aid you need to do:

  1. Call an ambulance and arrange for proper medical assistance.
  2. Immobilize the affected area so that no further complications can occur.
  3. Do not try to put the bone back in its original place, as, as already explained, the process requires medical attention.
  4. Prevent the patient from eating any food, as if the process requires anesthesia, fasting is necessary.

Complications of Dislocation

Often, the dislocation is associated with a fracture, which ends up making it difficult for the patient to recover. In addition, other complications caused by the dislocation can occur:

  • Nerve damage, such as the sciatic nerve;
  • Vascular complications;
  • Rigidity;
  • Osteoporosis, if the dislocation damages joint surfaces;
  • Damage to internal organs and soft parts, due to the displacement of a bone;
  • Resurgence of dislocations, if the first does not receive adequate treatment.

How to prevent me from dislocation

  • Use the handrail whenever you go up and / or down stairs;
  • Keep a first aid kit within reach;
  • Use non-slip mats in wet locations, such as the bathroom;
  • If you have children and / or elderly people at home, always supervise them to avoid falls;
  • Wear appropriate equipment and clothing when exercising;
  • Avoid standing for a long time on unstable items, such as chairs.

The propagation of this information is super important, because only then can we prevent more and more cases of dislocations from recurring. Unlike many conditions, this condition can be completely cured if you receive proper medical treatment.