Treating a dislocated joint is important to prevent re-injury The human body consists of 360 joints. When one of those joints becomes dislocated, it means that a bone has slipped out of place and is no longer where it should be. Dislocations result when a joint experiences some type of trauma, such as an impact from a fall. Once a joint dislocated, it is more likely to dislocate again in the future. Older people are more at risk of dislocations if they lack movement or balance. Shoulders, hips and knees are the most common types of joint dislocations.
A dislocated joint results in loss of motion, pain or numbness and sometimes a tingling feeling around the area. If you suspect you have dislocated a joint, get to the emergency room as soon as possible. At the hospital, you will be examined and treated. Treatments vary based on the severity of the injury, but in most cases a doctor will attempt to put the bones back in place and prevent the joint from moving for a few weeks. Treatments range from surgery to immobilization and pain management.
Once your doctor permits the joint to move, treating a dislocated joint through rehabilitation is recommended, and often crucial to recovery. A physical therapist will devise a plan with you to restore range of motion. Your plan is based on the joint involved, the severity of the initial injury, and whether or not you required surgery to correct the injury. A key component in recovery is strengthening the muscles around the joint to prevent it from dislocating again. Physical therapy can take weeks to help the joint regain range of motion because it is important to start off slowly as to not reinjure the area.
The goal of physical therapy is to restore you back pre-injury condition and minimize the impact an injury has on your quality of life.