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Difference between Dislocation and Partial Dislocation

Difference between Dislocation and Partial Dislocation

When discussing joint injuries, there are two main terms that are used: dislocation and partial dislocation. Though they may sound very similar, these two injuries are actually quite different. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between dislocation and partial dislocation, including the symptoms and treatment options for each. We hope this information will help you better understand these common joint injuries.

What is Dislocation?

  • Dislocation is a structural failure mode in which stressed material elements slide or pull apart from each other. Dislocation motion involves the motion of defects in one or more crystalline lattices and is a mechanism of plastic deformation in metals, polymers, and other crystalline solids. Dislocations are quantized line defects that can adsorb or emit atoms, transport heat, change crystalline properties such as electrical conducting, and be technologically useful.
  • Dislocations can exist singly or form complex networks that necessarily must cross grain boundaries and other barriers to diffusion in order to relieve the applied stress. Dislocations may also move rapidly under the influence of an external force. Dislocation dynamics is concerned with how dislocations interact with each other, how they move under stress, how they interact with point defects and solute atoms, and how they change the overall mechanical behavior of materials.
  • Dislocation dynamics is a multidisciplinary field that draws upon ideas from applied mathematics, theoretical physics, experimental physics, materials science, solid mechanics, and engineering. Dislocation dynamics is used to understand the behavior of crystals under a wide range of external conditions including high temperatures, high pressures, high electromagnetic fields, and irradiation.

What is Partial Dislocation?

Partial dislocation, also called subluxation, occurs when two bones that make up a joint are partially aligned. The joint may be completely out of its socket or only slightly misaligned. A partial dislocation is different from a full dislocation, in which the bones are completely separated. A partial dislocation is less severe and usually heals on its own within a few weeks. However, if the joint is not properly aligned, it may lead to chronic pain or further damage. A partial dislocation is most common in the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle.

It can be caused by falling, twisting, or being hit. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected joint. Partial dislocation can usually be treated with ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medication. In some cases, physical therapy may be necessary to help restore range of motion. If the joint does not heal properly on its own, surgery may be needed to realign the bones.

Difference between Dislocation and Partial Dislocation

A dislocation occurs when the two bones in a joint are completely separated. This can happen due to a traumatic injury, such as a fall or car accident. Dislocation is a very serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. Partial dislocation, also known as subluxation, occurs when the two bones in a joint are only partially separated. This can be caused by a less severe injury, such as a twisting motion. A partial dislocation is not as serious as dislocation, but it can still be painful and may require medical treatment.


Dislocations and partial dislocations are two common shoulder injuries. Knowing the difference between the two can help you better understand your injury, seek appropriate treatment, and improve your prognosis. If you’ve suffered a dislocation or partial dislocation, be sure to consult with a doctor to get started on the right path to recovery.

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