Man seeing doctor for knee pain

How Dislocated Joints Happen and How They Heal

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, where our physiatrists specialize in nonsurgical pain management and restoration of function, we often treat patients who have suffered a dislocated joint. Known for our astute diagnostic capabilities and our successful holistic therapies, we are able to provide immediate relief and accelerate healing.

Dislocated joints, though generally not as severe or long to mend as fractures, are extremely painful. In most cases, the pain is such that patients receive urgent care to have the bones of the affected joint put back into place. In the majority of cases, this can be done quickly and without surgery. 

Nonetheless, in the aftermath of joint dislocation, there is often damage to muscle, tendon, and/or nerve tissues around the joint that have been stretched or torn. Our many treatment methods are designed to effectively address this damage. If you or a loved one has suffered a joint dislocation, contact one of our five conveniently located Long Island offices for superior care.

All Joints, Small and Large, Can Be Dislocated

Dislocations occur when the bones of a joint are knocked out of place as can happen as a result of trauma, such as a car accident, sports injury, fall, or assault, or because the muscles and tendons of the region are unusually weak. When a dislocation is partial, it is known as a subluxation. It is important to note that once a joint has been dislocated, it is much easier for it to be dislocated again.

Any joint can be dislocated, including those in

  • Fingers
  • Shoulders
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Hips
  • Ankles
  • Wrists
  • Jaw

Even facet joints between the vertebrae can be dislocated. Healing times after joint dislocations typically vary according to the size of the joint and the extent of the trauma that caused it. For example, a dislocated finger joint is likely to heal completely in a few weeks, whereas a hip dislocation may require months to heal. 

In the most severe instances, dislocations may have to be repaired surgically. If you have undergone a surgical repair of joint dislocation, our well-trained physiatrists can provide several treatments to speed up your postsurgical recovery.

Symptoms of Joint Dislocation

In addition to the extreme pain, joint dislocation results in the following symptoms:

  • Instability of the joint
  • Inability to move the joint
  • Swelling and bruising in the area
  • Visible deformity of the joint (e.g. an abnormal protrusion of bone)

If you suspect you have a dislocated joint, seek treatment immediately since the longer the bones remain dislocated, the greater the tissue damage is likely to be.

Diagnosing a Dislocation

Experienced doctors can usually diagnose a dislocation by looking at and gently moving the joint. Asking questions about what caused the injury is also helpful. If there is any doubt, X-ray images will provide specific information about the position of the bones and the severity of the dislocation.

Treatments for Joint Dislocations

While some joint dislocations right themselves, most of the time manipulation is necessary to reposition the bones correctly. Once the bones are back in place, depending on the area affected, a sling or splint may be necessary to help keep the joint immobile and protect it from further harm.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine we offer several treatments to resolve issues of stiffness, immobility, and residual soreness, including:

  • Customized physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments
  • The judicious use of medications
  • Acupuncture to relieve pain and inflammation 
  • PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) therapy to treat pain and inflammation and increase blood flow to accelerate healing
  • PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to promote healing

Committed to relieving your pain and restoring your full range of motion, we will often use a combination of treatments for optimal results.

Contact Our Experienced Joint Dislocation Specialists Now

When it comes to getting you back in the game, we will pull out all the stops. Contact us today to make an appointment. We will give you the caring, personalized care you need and deserve.