Treatment

Treatment of the dislocation depends on the site and severity of your injury. It might involve:

  • Reduction. Your doctor might try gentle maneuvers to help your bones back into position. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling, you might need a local anesthetic or even a general anesthetic before manipulation of your bones.
  • Immobilization. After your bones are back in position, your doctor might immobilize your joint with a splint or sling for several weeks. How long you wear the splint or sling depends on the joint involved and the extent of damage to nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues.
  • Surgery. You might need surgery if your doctor can't move your dislocated bones into their correct positions or if the nearby blood vessels, nerves or ligaments have been damaged. Surgery may also be necessary if you have had recurring dislocations, especially of your shoulder.
  • Rehabilitation. After your splint or sling is removed, you'll begin a gradual rehabilitation program designed to restore your joint's range of motion and strength.
Dec. 23, 2016
References
  1. Marx JA, et al., eds. General principles of orthopedic injuries. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 3, 2016.
  2. Babhulkar A, et al. Acromioclavicular joint dislocations. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2014;7:33.
  3. Sherman SC. Shoulder dislocation and reduction. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 3, 2016.
  4. Joshi SV. Digit dislocation reduction. http://www.update.com/home. Accessed July 3, 2016.
  5. Elbow dislocation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic= a00029. Accessed July 3, 2016.
  6. Canale ST, et al. Recurrent dislocations. In: Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 3, 2016.
  7. Smith D, et al. Sideline management of acute dislocation of the glenohumeral joint — A unique approach to athlete self-reduction. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013;8:80.