Dislocations occur at the joint, the juncture where at least two bones meet. Bones are connected by ligaments, which are tough and flexible connective tissues. They’re in charge of holding your bones together and allowing for movement. However, ligaments can be torn. When a ligament is torn, the bones get dislocated. It’s very painful, but often easily treated by an orthopedic specialist such as Dr. Peter Tsai and Dr. Keith Neaman at Mend Clinic in Salem, Oregon. Learn more about types of orthopedic injuries we treat, read reviews, and see why patients choose Mend Clinic as their ER alternative in Salem, Oregon. Book your appointment online, walk-in, or call (971) 204-8410.
A dislocation can happen at any joint, and is very common in sports injuries. There are some common areas:
A “finger dislocation” can happen in many places since humans have 14 digital bones in each hand (also called phalanges). Usually, a dislocation happens when a finger is bent backward past its range of motion. Dislocated fingers are relatively common in sports injuries.
A dislocated finger can happen at the distal interphalangeal joint (the joint closest to the fingertip), and is most commonly caused by trauma. The proximal interphalangeal joint (the middle part of the finger), when dislocated is also called a jammed finger. It’s most common in sports injuries, particularly with ball-based sports. There’s also the metacarpophalangeal joint dislocation, which is the knuckle. However, these are much more stable joints and dislocation here is less common.
Elbow dislocations can be partial or complete. A complete dislocation means the joints have fully separated. A partial dislocation, also known as a subluxation, means part of the elbow joint is still in place. The elbow joint is comprised of the humerus, radius, and ulna, so it’s possible to only partially dislocate the elbow.
As both a ball and socket joint and a hinge joint, the elbow is unique. It’s capable of two motions including flexion/extension (like when you do a bicep curl), and rotation (such as when you flip your palms up and down). The elbow joint is hearty, and dislocations are rare. They most often occur during slip and fall accidents or sports injuries, when a person breaks a fall with their hand. A simple dislocation doesn’t cause bone injury, a complex dislocation can include serious bone and ligament injury, and severe dislocations also impact the nerve and blood vessels.
Shoulders are extremely mobile, yet the point of many injuries including shoulder dislocations. It’s designed to move in many directions, making dislocations common. Like the elbow, it can be partially or fully dislocated. Both can be very painful and may involve torn ligaments, tendons, and/or nerve damage.
Thanks to its mobility, a shoulder can dislocate down, forward, or back. The most common is forward, or anterior, and is usually caused when throwing an object. This makes it a common sports injury. With shoulders, the severe pain almost completely subsides when an orthopedic specialist “re-sets” the shoulder. Never try this on your own.
Also known as patellar dislocation, this type of dislocation is usually caused by a severe twist or a direct hit to the knee. The kneecap can slide out of position, which usually causes severe pain and swelling. Fortunately, it’s very rare.
If the kneecap moves out of alignment with the femur (thigh bone) or tibia/fibula (bones in the lower leg), that means severe ligament tears have occurred. Sometimes these tears are partial, as there are many ligaments keeping the kneecap in place. A knee dislocation is both extremely rare and also limb-threatening. Without immediate orthopedic treatment, the patient risks losing a leg.
It’s not always obvious to a patient when a toe is dislocated. It’s often caused by a direct hit, which causes a serious sprain in the toe ligament. The pain can be severe and intense, and occurs right after the injury. Sometimes the toe visibly looks “off,” and it’s difficult or impossible to bend the toe. Bruising and swelling are also common.
Toe dislocations are somewhat common. Some people are especially prone to them. They’re painful and require orthopedic attention, but they’re not as serious as a kneecap or shoulder dislocation.
Athletes most commonly experience wrist dislocation, but it can happen to anyone. This common sports injury can happen in any of the eight bones that make up the wrist. These carpal dislocations are caused by trauma and falls. The wrist may or may not look deformed, but severe pain almost always accompanies a dislocation. There might also be a tingle in the fingers, which is a sign of related nerve damage.
To dislocate a wrist, serious ligament damage must occur. It requires immediate orthopedic treatment to avoid permanent disability. Surgery is often required for wrist dislocations. Hand surgery is Dr. Tsai’s and Dr. Neaman’s specialty.
Hip dislocations can now be treated at Mend Clinic! When a dislocation happens, the ball of the tip of the leg bone simply comes out of its socket. A full dislocation happens with traumatic accidents (such as a fall or auto accident) and essentially makes it very difficult to move. With dislocated hips comes ligament issues with stretching or tearing. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately so that you being healing today and prevent future injuries to the same joints.