Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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When I was a boy, my friend dislocated his shoulder and he put it back into place itself. When my son dislocated his elbow recently, the doctor had to put it back into place for him. Why can some joints go back by themselves and others can't?

It's impossible to say if your friend's shoulder was completely dislocated or was injured and felt like it might have been. It may appear that a joint pops back into place, however, true dislocations should be treated by a doctor. This is because it's possible that there are other injuries that occurred along with the dislocation. For example, the doctor will check if the blood flow to the hand is still ok - the injury may have also affected the artery that provides blood to the lower arm and hand. As well, it is important to check the nerves in the hand to be sure they weren't damaged either.


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