Question

Bone & Joint Injuries

What causes frequent joint dislocations?

A Answers (1)

  • AAnthony Komaroff, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Ordinarily, the hips and shoulders dislocate only after significant force is applied to them, such as from athletic activities or a motor vehicle accident. Our joints have strong ligaments that hold the joints in proper position and prevent excessive motion that could cause dislocation.

    If you are having repeated dislocations of your hips, shoulders and knees, it's possible you have a "hypermobility syndrome." As the name suggests, people with hypermobility syndromes have joints that are more mobile than normal due to looseness of the ligaments. The loose ligaments not only allow excessive motion, but also may not hold the bones in place as they should. Recurrent joint dislocations may follow. However, there is usually at least some pain.

    Many people with hypermobility have loose joints but are otherwise healthy. Others, such as those with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome, have additional problems such as heart valve or eye abnormalities.

    Hypermobility syndromes are usually present from birth. Therefore, it's possible that your symptoms are due to something else. For example, some people with symptoms like yours actually have arthritis or tendonitis.

    See your doctor so he or she can review your symptoms in detail and perform a thorough joint examination. That's the only way to understand what's causing your symptoms.
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What increases my risk for dislocations?