First Aid Tips: Dislocations

Based on a module by Fred Mednick from the Connexions website’s Health Education Course

Introduction by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert 


Continuing our ongoing series on First Aid Tips, this article provides a quick overview of what to do if someone dislocates a part of their body.  --Don Rose


Dislocation Information

The most common dislocations occur in the shoulder, elbow, finger, or thumb.

If you or someone with you notices that a part of the body does not feel or look normal, LOOK FOR THESE POTENTIAL SIGNS:

  1. swelling
  2. deformed appearance
  3. pain and/or tenderness
  4. possible discoloration of the affected area.

If a dislocation is suspected:

  1. Apply a splint to the joint to keep it from moving.
  2. Try to keep the joint elevated to slow blood flow to the area
  3. A doctor should be contacted to have the bone set back into its socket.

Final Thoughts

If you dislocate a part of your body, are by yourself, and are experiencing extreme pain or unusual bodily appearance in that body part, call 911. If you are not near a phone, cannot get to a phone or cannot punch in the numbers, you can still get immediate help if you are a member of Life Alert; simply press your pendant to get in touch with live dispatchers within seconds, 24/7. They can send help to you, which will arrive in a matter of minutes. Life Alert members who are not home can also use a special one-button 911 cellphone (an optional Life Alert feature). If you don’t currently have Life Alert, see below for links to information on this invaluable service.

The article above is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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