Dislocation: Definition, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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  • 0:03 What Is a Dislocation?
  • 0:29 What Can Cause a Dislocation?
  • 1:42 What Are the Symptoms?
  • 2:00 What Is the Treatment…
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Virginia Rawls

Virginia has a master' degree in Education and a bachelors in Sports Medicine/athletic Training

Dislocations are a very common injury. In this lesson, you'll get to learn the definition of a dislocation, causes, symptoms, and treatment of this injury.

What Is a Dislocation?

So what is a dislocation? A dislocation occurs when the bones in a joint separate. A joint is where two or more bones meet. Dislocations can only occur to joints. You can sustain dislocations in any joint of the body, but the more common sites of dislocation include the shoulder, hip, patella, ankle, and finger.

What Can Cause a Dislocation?

Dislocations can occur because of anatomical issues or blunt force trauma. A person's anatomical structure can play a role in how easily and how often he or she might sustain a dislocation injury. By nature some people have weak anatomy, meaning the ligaments that hold joints together might not be tight enough to physically hold the joint together. This is also true of someone who has received multiple injuries to the same anatomy or joint.

What exactly what does this mean? It means that a person can dislocate a joint just because he was born with loose joints. It also means that if a person has injured a joint in the past, he/she is more likely to dislocate that same joint in the future.

Blunt force trauma is a term used to describe when an outside force causes stress or stain on the body. Exactly what does this mean? It means that there are several instances that would allow for this type of injury to occur, regardless if they are foreseen or not, such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Falling off the roof when cleaning gutters
  • Being punched in the face during a fight
  • Collisions between two football players

What Are the Symptoms?

Pain is the most common symptom associated with any dislocation, followed by an inability to use the joint. Some joints will also have an obvious deformity if they are dislocated. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Tingling
  • Numbness around the affected area

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