The emergency physician may sometimes be unable to reduce a dislocation, even with the aid of nerve block or pharmacologic sedation. While technique is certainly a factor, there may be other reasons closed reduction cannot be accomplished, such as the interposition of soft tissues or the presence of associated fractures. Orthopedic consultation should be sought in such cases. Timely reduction, which may sometimes only be achieved surgically, can help minimize the complications (and shorten the pain) resulting from a dislocated joint.
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