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First Aid for Dislocation

Last updated Feb. 26, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

X-ray of the Shoulder Joint Showing Grade I AC joint dislocation aka Type 1 AC separation.

What is Dislocation?

  • A Dislocation occurs when the bone is forcefully moved out of its normal location in a joint
  • Dislocations may involve the larger joints such as the knee and shoulder. But, it may also occur in the finger or toe joint

What are the Causes of Dislocation?

Causes for Dislocation could include:

  • Injury during sports activities or a fall
  • Motor vehicle accidents

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dislocation?

Signs and symptoms of a Dislocation include:

  • Severe pain
  • Obvious deformation of the joint
  • Inability to move the joint
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising or contusion
  • Sensory disturbances (tingling or numbness, or both) in the distal limb

How is First Aid administered for Dislocation?

First Aid tips for Dislocation include:

  • Call 911, if there is a life-threatening emergency situation
  • Make arrangements to seek medical assistance
  • DO NOT move the person, if there is a suspicion of head, neck, back, or leg injury
  • DO NOT move the joint; doing so may aggravate the injury
  • Use splints or sling affected joint in its position. Try to immobilize the joint, above and below the affected area
  • Apply ice on the injured site to reduce pain and swelling, only if there are no open wounds/injuries
  • Do not administer anything orally to the person, as the person may require a surgery

Who should administer First Aid for Dislocation?

The injured person or any bystander can administer First Aid; however, the affected individual must seek medical assistance for a definitive management.

What is the Prognosis of Dislocation?

The prognosis is usually good if appropriate medical treatment is provided.

How can Dislocation be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Dislocations:

  • Use appropriate safety equipment, especially while participating in sports
  • Wear seat belt while driving
  • Fall-proof the home
  • Close supervision of children during their outdoor activities

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911, or seek medical attention
  • Immobilize the joint

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 28, 2013
Last updated: Feb. 26, 2018