Subluxation

Subluxation occurs when a bone is partially pulled or pushed out of place (out of its normal relationship to the other bones that make up a joint). This can happen in joints such as the kneecap, hip, fingers, elbow, or shoulder.

A subluxation may be caused by a direct blow to the joint, a fall, or a sudden twisting movement. Everyday activities may cause this injury if a person has unstable joints. A subluxation in a young child may be caused by abuse.

Although a subluxation may feel better because the dislocated bone has partially popped back into place, it can still be a problem that needs medical evaluation.

  • Soft tissues in or around a joint (such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and the joint capsule) may stretch or tear.
  • Nerves and blood vessels may be damaged by the injury.

Last Updated: September 19, 2009

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

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