Whether you're exercising, working hard, or perhaps just moving around the house or in your community, it's possible to believe that you've dislocated a body part. A serious dislocation will leave little doubt, but there are times that a joint can pop out and then pop back in immediately afterward, leaving you to suspect that you've sustained this type of injury. While your first instinct might be to shrug it off, especially if it's not causing you any pain, you should plan instead to see a physical therapist as soon as possible. Here are some ways that a physical therapist can help you after this injury.
Setting The Joint Properly
One of the big concerns about dislocation injuries is that the joint may not go back together as it should. For example, if you quickly dislocate one of your fingers and it appears to go back into place, it may not be in proper alignment. Over time, this can cause you to deal with pain and notice some struggles with this finger's range of motion. When you see a physical therapist, he or she can perform an assessment of the injury — perhaps with the help of an x-ray — to determine if it looks right. If not, the therapist can set the joint properly.
Treating Any Surrounding Issues
One of the side effects of a dislocation injury is that you can be left with pain around the site. When a joint is dislocated, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons will be stretched — if even temporarily — to the point that you're left with discomfort. Your physical therapist will care for you by treating these issues. Hands-on massage, electric stimulation, and other forms of therapy can be useful to reduce the inflammation and its associated pain.
Strengthening The Joint
Although dislocation injuries can take place for a number of different reasons, certain joints are commonly more at risk of being dislocated if the joint lacks strength. One way that you can reduce your risk of future injuries of this nature is to strengthen the joint, and your physical therapist will demonstrate to you the appropriate way to do so. The therapist will teach you a series of exercises that you can practice regularly. While you'll go through this exercise regimen during your session, the therapist will also ask that you keep up with the exercises even when you're back at home so that a future dislocation isn't as likely.