Whether you have a dislocated shoulder, elbow or wrist, there’s one symptom they share, and that’s pain. Beyond the pain, you’ll likely have swelling and a deformed joint where the bone was pushed out of place. It’s essential to seek immediate medical attention with the physicians at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Atlanta, Athens, and Marietta, Georgia. Their orthopedic expertise ensures proper treatment, guidance throughout rehabilitation, and the return of optimal joint function.
Dislocations occur in joints when the bones that meet in the joint are forced from their normal position. Dislocations require prompt medical attention so that the bones can be put back into place and any damage repaired. Proper follow-up care and careful rehabilitation are essential to maintaining optimal function in a dislocated joint.
The shoulder is the most frequently dislocated joint in the body because its unique range of motion makes it very vulnerable. Since the shoulder moves in multiple directions, it can also dislocate forward, backward and downward.
A shoulder dislocation may be partial or complete, meaning the arm bone is either partly or completely out of the socket. Both types are very painful. You’re also likely to stretch or tear the rotator cuff and other connective tissues that support the shoulder.
It takes significant force to cause a shoulder dislocation. These injuries often follow a blow to the shoulder, such as during a fall, contact sports, or extreme rotation of the shoulder.
The elbow is the second most commonly dislocated joint. This is an injury that needs immediate medical attention because the dislocated elbow may pinch blood vessels or nerves that are needed to ensure proper function in the lower arm and hand.
An elbow usually gets dislocated when a person falls onto an outstretched hand. As the hand hits the ground, the force is felt in the elbow. When there’s also twisting motion involved, the combination of the force and the rotation push the elbow out of its socket. The three bones that form the elbow, as well as the muscles and ligaments that hold them together, can all be damaged.
Wrist dislocations are complex because any of the eight small bones that make up the wrist may be forced out of place. Wrist dislocations are almost always caused by a fall or a traumatic event. Like other dislocations, they also usually involve damage to tendons. If you suffer a wrist dislocation, you’re at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age.
Most dislocations are obvious; the joint is deformed by the displaced bone and you’ll experience pain, swelling, bruising, and weakness. You may also feel tingling or numbness if nerves were affected by the dislocation.
Your doctor at Georgia Hand Shoulder Elbow places the bone back into its proper position in a procedure called a reduction. The joint is temporarily immobilized and you may receive instructions to apply ice to reduce pain and swelling. When it has healed enough to begin physical therapy, your doctor will prescribe rehabilitation exercises.