Symptoms of a joint dislocation may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the site of the injury
  • Misalignment, or a joint that looks funny
  • Bruising

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor as quickly as possible after dislocating a joint. It can be hard to tell if a joint is dislocated or if the bone is broken. Both injuries require quick medical attention.


Joint dislocations can be caused by:

  • Impact sports like football, hockey, or rugby
  • Sports in which you fall often, such as downhill skiing or gymnastics
  • Any sport where a fast-moving ball or player can strike a joint and knock it out of place, like basketball or soccer
  • A hard blow to the joint from a car accident or slipping on ice

Diagnosis & Tests, Treatments, & Prevention

Diagnosis & Tests

Joint dislocation can usually be diagnosed with a physical examination. The doctor will ask about your medical history, the injury, and your level of pain/In some cases, an x-ray may be needed to check the location and severity of the injury.

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