A dislocated joint may be:
- Visibly deformed or out of place
- Swollen or discolored
- Intensely painful
You may also experience tingling or numbness near or below the injury — such as in your foot for a dislocated knee or in your hand for a dislocated elbow.
When to see a doctor
It can be difficult to tell a broken bone from a dislocated bone. If you or your child appears to have either type of injury, get medical help right away. If possible, ice the joint and keep it immobile while you're waiting for medical treatment.
Jan. 25, 2014
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 31, 2013.
- Sherman SC. Shoulder dislocation and reduction. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 31, 2013.
- Joshi SV. Digit dislocation reduction. http://www.update.com/home. Accessed July 31, 2013.
- Elbow dislocation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00029. Accessed Aug. 1, 2013.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 6, 2013.
- Moore BR, et al. Recognition and initial management of lateral patellar dislocation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Aug. 1, 2013.
- Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 1, 2013.