5. Dislocated or broken arm or leg

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5. Dislocated or broken arm or leg:[1]

Note: In all cases that doctors say that the dislocation or break is lethally dangerous one may obviously desecrate Shabbos to heal it immediately as explained in Chapter 1.

A. Dislocation:

Rubbing it with water:[2] One who dislocated his arm or foot, which is defined as that the bone came out of its socket, he may not rub it a lot with cold water being that this heals it[3]. Rather he is to wash it regularly [as he washes it during the week] and if it gets healed [in the process] then so be it[4].

Returning it to its socket:[5] A bone which has become dislocated is forbidden to be returned to its socket [on Shabbos] being that doing so is similar to building (in addition to the fact that all healing treatments are forbidden [on Shabbos when no danger is involved]). [See footnote for opinion of Michaber[6]] Even to rub it a lot with cold water is forbidden as explained above. [See Q&A regarding if there is fear for the limb or if one is in extreme pain]

B. Returning a broken bone to its proper positioning:

However, a bone which has broken may be returned to its place as if one does not return it there on Shabbos the limb will be in danger and in scenarios of danger for a limb [the Sages] did not make their decree. [See Q&A regarding making a cast and x-ray]


Summary- Dislocated arm or leg on Shabbos:

Dislocated bones may not be returned to its socket on Shabbos due to a building prohibition [unless one is in bedridden in which case a gentile may do so].[7] As well one may not rub the area with a lot of cold water, although may wash it regularly.[8] However if the dislocation is due to a break in the bone then one may return it on Shabbos as the limb is considered to be in danger.[9]



If one is in great pain and there is fear that the limb will not be able to function properly any more if it is not returned to its socket may one be lenient to return it?[10]

Yes[11], it may be done regularly by a Jew as this is considered that the limb is in danger.[12]

If one is in extreme pain but there is no fear of damaging the limb what is he to do?

If one is in extreme pain then he may tell a gentile to return the limb to its socket, as explained in Chapter 2 Halacha 3.

May a cast be made for a broken limb?[13]

No as doing so involves Biblical prohibitions. The limb is rather to be placed in a sling until after Shabbos.

May an x-ray be taken?[14]

Doing so involves a Biblical prohibition.[15]



[1] Admur 328:36

[2] Admur 328:36

[3] Now although as explained in Chapter 2 Halacha 7 that the medicine prohibition only applies in cases that the healing is done thru medicine, while here it is not done through medicine, nevertheless since it is possible to heal it through washing it regularly it is therefore forbidden to do it in a way that is noticeable. [Ketzos Hashulchan 138 footnote 18]

[4] Lit. “it heals”

[5] Admur 328:52

[6] This follows the ruling of the Magen Avraham. However, the Michaber [47] argues and hold that even a dislocation is permitted to be returned on Shabbos.

[7] Admur 328:36

[8] Admur 328:52

[9] Admur 328:52

[10] Ketzos Hashulchan 138 footnote 18; Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:38

[11] The M”B writes that according to all if the doctor says that there is danger of a limb involved then a Jew may replace it. [Mishneh Berurah 145] This applies as well if one knows the danger of the dislocation even if there is no doctor.  [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]

[12] Why is an irregularity not required is this not a biblical prohibition?

[13] Sheivet Halevy 6:25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:38

[14] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:38

[15] However, the Beir Moshe [7:50] rules that x-rays involve only a Rabbinical writing prohibition being that the x-ray is only understandable by experts.

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