Emergency Care for Urgent Situations: Dislocations
We all know how important a role our bones play in our body when it comes to support, movement and locomotion and how they come together in the various joints in our bodies. A dislocation, therefore, is an injury where the ends of your bones in the body are forced out of their normal positions in a joint. A dislocation can be quite painful especially since they are mostly as a result of trauma, although an underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause it as well. Most of the time, dislocations involve the larger joints in the body such as the knee, hip, shoulder or elbow, although one may still suffer a dislocation in one of the body’s smaller joints such as the joints in the fingers or toes. The most common cause for dislocations is sports activities, especially contact sports such as football, soccer, hockey among others where you may suffer a fall or get hit. You will also see dislocations in sports where the chances of one suffering a fall are high such as downhill skiing, rollerblading and skateboarding among others. Other than sports, motor vehicle accidents are yet another common cause of dislocations. When you suffer a dislocation, it is important to know how to proceed so that you can get the care you require and to help with that, this article will look to highlight the signs of a dislocation and how to proceed in the immediate aftermath of the injury.
The first thing we are going to look at as far as dislocations are concerned are the signs and symptoms. In most cases, when you suffer a dislocation, you will know it, but it is still important to know the telltale signs and what to look out for in case you suffer such an injury. One of the main symptoms to look out for a far as dislocations go is obvious deformity of the joint with it looking like it is out of place. You will also experience pain that is sudden and severe when you suffer a dislocation. Other symptoms of a dislocation include redness of the injured part as well as swelling, bruising of the injured area or what is known as a contusion in medical circles, an inability to move the affected joint, as well as a tingling sensation or numbness in the injured part in some cases. If you are experiencing such symptoms, then it may be a sign that you may have suffered a dislocation.
The first thing to do if you are with someone who has suffered a dislocation is to get medical attention as soon as possible or call 911 if you think the situation is life-threatening. As you wait for medical attention to arrive, you should ensure that you don’t move the injured joint. You should not try to force the dislocated joint back into place as this can cause damage to the joint as well as the surrounding muscles, blood vessels, ligaments or nerves. Trying to force the injured joint back in place should be left for the movies. You should also ensure that you do not move the person if you suspect that they may have suffered a head, back, neck or leg injury. If one has suffered some sort of head or neck trauma, you should always assume that they may have suffered a spinal injury until it is ruled out by a medical professional so you shouldn’t move them as this could aggravate the injury. You should then splint the affected joint into its fixed position and immobilize the joint above and below the injured area. Immobilizing the joint, as well as calling for medical attention or 911 are the key steps you should always follow in cases of a dislocation.
As you wait for medical care to arrive, you should also apply ice on the injured area if possible so as to reduce the pain and swelling. However, you should only apply ice if there are no open wounds on the site of the injury and you should not apply the ice directly on the skin but should have the ice wrapped in a cloth or use an icepack if available. It may be tempting to administer pain relieving medication for the pain as you wait for medical services to arrive, but it is actually not a good idea. You should not administer anything orally, especially since you don’t know the severity of the injuries yet and the injured person may require surgery. You should then stay with the injured person until help arrives and ensure they are as comfortable as possible. There are no home remedies for dislocations and therefore, even after the above emergency care procedures, you should always seek medical assistance so that you can receive treatment for such an injury. The good news is that, if you receive the appropriate medical treatment, the prognosis is usually good as far as dislocations are concerned.
Hopefully, you will be able to know what to do next time you are someone near you suffers a dislocation so as to ensure that any unwanted consequences are avoided.