Joint Trauma

Joint contusion

This is direct impact trauma suffered by a joint. According to the latter’s position at the time of trauma and its magnitude, the contusion will be more or less severe, and can even result in joint fracture.

Sprain

This is a joint injury that affects the ligaments and the capsule, and it is produced by an indirect forced movement without the joint surfaces permanently losing contact.

A sprain is the most common trauma in humans and may affect several joints (elbow, wrist, fingers, knee, ankle, …) It is an injury typical of young adults, which affects men and women and is closely related with sports.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury. In milder cases without complete tear of the ligaments, immobilization, followed by physical therapy, is recommended. However, in severe cases with rupture of the extra-articular or intra-articular ligaments (e.g. anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments of the knee) surgical repair may be indicated.

Dislocation

These are traumas caused by an indirect mechanism and characterized by the capsuloligamentous injury where the joint ends lose their normal contact permanently.

The joint most exposed to dislocation is the shoulder, followed by the elbow, hip, ankle and hand.

Treatment of a dislocation requires urgent reduction, followed by a study of associated injuries. Depending on the extent of these injuries, the need to immobilize the joint and perform physical therapy, or the need for surgical reparation of the damaged structures, has to be assessed.