What are dislocated joints?

Dislocated joints are a common injury, particularly among athletes. They can occur in any joint in the body, but are most often seen in the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle.

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Signs and symptoms of dislocated joints

Signs and symptoms of a dislocated joint include:

  1. intense pain
  2. inability to move the joint
  3. swelling and deformity of the joint. The joint may also feel unstable or “wobbly”.

If you think you have dislocated your joint, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to relocate the joint yourself – this can cause further damage.


Step-by-step guide to treating a dislocated joint:

  1. Assure the casualty that he or she should remain still. Assist them in maintaining their broken joint in the most comfortable posture feasible.
    • Do not attempt to put the fractured bone back into its socket since this might result in additional damage.
  2. Stop the joint from moving.
    • If you believe they have dislocated their shoulder or elbow, support the injured arm with a sling. Tie a broad-fold bandage (wide bandage) around the chest and the sling to provide further support. Remove any rings or watches from your hands or arms in case of swelling if an arm is injured.
    • If you believe they’ve dislocated their ankle, knee, or hip joint, apply padding and broad-fold bandages to the afflicted leg.
  3. Take them to the hospital. If you can’t transport them yourself, call 999 or 112 for emergency assistance.
  4. If you’re alone and waiting for assistance, check for shock if necessary. Keep an eye on their level of response.
  5. Raise the uninjured leg only. Don’t raise an injured leg.
  6. Check the circulation around any bandages every 10 minutes and loosen the tie if needed.

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