Joint dislocation (Latin: luxatio)  occurs when bones in a joint become displaced or misaligned. It is often caused by a sudden impact to the joint. The ligaments always become damaged as a result of a dislocation.
Once a joint is dislocated, it may reduce (return to its proper position) on its own, or it may require physical manipulation. Such manipulation, if improperly attempted, can greatly increase the severity of the injury. However delay in treatment of a dislocation may affect blood supply, ligaments, bone and joint structures, sometimes resulting in permanent disability. As with most medical conditions, expert help should be sought as soon as possible. Once reduction is achieved, the joint may be held in place through a splint (for straight joints like fingers and toes) or a bandage (for complex joints like shoulders). Shoulder injuries can be surgically stabilized, for example using arthroscopic surgery. Dislocations often require immediate medical attention. After a dislocation caution should be exercised and the joint structures stabilized and muscles strengthened. This will help reduce the chances of repetition.
Having a dislocation increases the risk of a re-occurrence. Constant dislocations can be treated via surgery or strengthening the structures surrounding the dislocated area, normally through exercise.
Frequent, or spontaneous dislocations may also be symptomatic of a serious medical condition, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
A subluxation is a partial dislocation.