A joint is a point where two or more of your bones come together. A dislocation is an injury to your joint in which the ends of your bones are forced from their normal positions. The injury temporarily deforms and immobilizes your joint and may result in sudden and severe pain.

Dislocations may occur in your major joints shoulder, hip, knee, elbow and ankle or in the smaller joints in your fingers, thumbs and toes. The cause is usually trauma, such as a fall or a hard blow. Dislocations are common injuries in contact sports, such as football and hockey, and in sports that may involve falls, such as downhill skiing, gymnastics and volleyball.

If you suspect a dislocation, seek prompt medical attention to return your bones to their proper positions without damaging your joint. When treated properly, most dislocated joints will return to normal function after several weeks of rest and rehabilitation. However, some joints, such as your shoulder and kneecap (patella), have an increased risk of repeat dislocation.

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