Understanding Dislocation -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 21, 2021

What Are the Symptoms of a Dislocation?

If you've dislocated a joint, you'll know something is wrong because the symptoms are difficult to miss. You will have severe pain and will not be able to move that part of the shoulder, arm, or leg.You can usually tell by looking at the joint that there is a problem. The joint will look deformed compared to the same joint on the opposite side. You may see an indention or a bulge near or in the socket.

In many cases, the force of the injury stretches or tears the ligaments that hold the bone inside the joint and the bone is no longer seated properly in the joint.

Often, there is swelling and bleeding inside the joint, causing a bruise. There may be nerve damage due to stretching of the nerves around the dislocated bone.

You will have pain until the dislocation is "reduced" or put back into place by trained medical personnel.