Dislocated Joints: More Common Than You Think
There are many types of injuries that can occur when we are out in the wilds. One of the more common types of injuries are dislocated joints. These injuries can occur because of falls, twisting actions, and are often seen in ATV-type accidents. When confronted with a dislocated joint, many people tend to panic as the limb can look simply awful if the injury is serious. Here are some tips on handle dislocations.
As is true with any serious injury, if at all possible, get professional medical care as quickly as possible. Even so, there are some things you can do to help the victim in the meantime.
First Aid for Dislocated Joints:
When dislocations happen, the victim may freak out when they see the injury. Your first task is to reassure the person and keep them as still and quiet as possible. The less they move, the less pain they will feel.
If you find that the skin has been broken because of a broken bone, or if you believe the bone may be broken under the injury, you will need to do a couple of things:
Keep the open wound as clean as possible to prevent infection. Don’t touch or breathe on the wound. Dress the open wound with a sterile bandage before you move on to immobilizing the limb.
The next step may take some creative thinking on your part. It is important to splint the injury in place. That means not moving the limb or trying to “pop” a dislocated joint back into place. You want to tie the injury above and below the joint, but make sure you do not cut off the blood circulation.
If you can, apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling and to ease pain. Once you have the person stabilized, treat him or her for shock. You do this by keeping the person on his or her back and elevating their feet about a foot off the ground (if the legs are not injured). Cover the person with a blanket or jacket. It is imperative that you not move the person if you think they may also have other injuries to the back or neck. Moreover, of course, get help quickly.
Remember, with dislocated joints, do not:
- Move the person any more than you have to until the injury is splinted.
- Move the person if there is any chance of neck or back injury.
- Move anyone who has a hip, leg, or pelvis injury unless you simply have to do so.
- If you have to move them, drag them by their clothing as gently as possible.
- Also, never try to put the joint back into place!
You can reassure the person by telling them that almost all dislocated joints can be treated and fixed and that full recovery is often seen within a few weeks.
Keep in mind that you as the caregiver will have to keep your wits about yourself if you have someone with a dislocated joint. Stay calm, move these steps, and get help. That is the best you can do with these types of injuries.