Fractures and Dislocations

Fractures and Dislocations

Fractures and dislocations can occur when a high force impacts against our body. A fracture is an umbrella term that encompasses all breaks of a bone, whether they be small, large, complete or penetrating through the skin. A dislocation is when a joint is forced out of it’s regular position, causing the joint to stick out at a funny angle. Dislocations usually cause injury to the surrounding ligaments or tendons of the joint. Smaller fractures may not cause visible deformity, and require an X-ray to be diagnosed. Some people can sustain a fracture and dislocation at the same time.


  • Pain localised to a particular area, with or without deformity
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • If in the finger, the finger may look to be in an awkward position or bend in an usual way when moved

Most people can still move their fingers or hand when a fracture is present. Being able to still move your hand is not a reliable indication that you haven’t sustained a fracture


  • The joint may be sticking out at a funny angle
  • The joint may or may not pop back into it’s usual position easily
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Reduced range of motion – If a joint remains dislocated, it will not be able to move as the joint is not in the correct position. If a joint was dislocated but then put back into place, movement can occur but may be painful


If a fracture or dislocation is suspected, an X-ray should always be done to check the extent of the fracture, the alignment of the bones and whether a joint is properly in the right position. Patients should never try to put a dislocated joint back into position themselves – you should always seek medical assistance and have the joint relocated by a medical professional. In severe cases, surgical intervention is required to re-align bones correctly or repair ligaments or tendons that have been torn. Following the diagnosis of a fracture or dislocation, treatment may involve:

  • Protective splinting
  • Provision of exercises to return range of motion to the area, when safe to do so
  • Swelling management
  • Wound and scar management after surgery
  • Strengthening

Fractures and DislocationsFractures and Dislocations

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