What is shoulder dislocation?

Shoulder dislocation is when the upper arm bone pops out of the socket that is part of the shoulder blade. The shoulder is the most susceptible to dislocation because it is the body’s most mobile joint. Dislocations vary in severity based on how far the ball slips out of the socket. The bigger the dislocation, the more tendons and ligaments are stretched and damaged.

Symptoms of shoulder dislocation

When asking “What is shoulder dislocation?” the first thing you must know is that a shoulder dislocation is very painful. You may also experience:

  • swelling or bruising
  • inability to move the joint
  • numbness and tingling near the joint or further down the arm
  • muscle spasms in the shoulder

You can usually tell that the shoulder looks deformed and out of place when it is dislocated. Young men have the greatest risk of a shoulder dislocation as this injury often occurs while playing sports. It can also occur during a car accident, fall, or other traumatic blow to the shoulder.

What is shoulder dislocation vs. shoulder instabilityathletes playing soccer

Once a shoulder has been dislocated for the first time it may be more prone to future dislocations. In addition to injury and overuse, this can cause the upper arm bone to slip out of its socket repeatedly, thus resulting in instability. This may occur more and more frequently as the ligaments and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint are less able to hold the ball and socket together.

Treatment for shoulder dislocation

Seek medical help if you suspect you have dislocated your shoulder. A professional can help put the ball back into the socket with a procedure called closed reduction. You should feel an almost immediate relief to the acute pain. Your doctor may prescribe a sling and recommend icing sore spots during the recovery period. Full function and recovery tend to follow within the next few weeks. For immediate help visit the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group’s Express Care Clinic.

Surgery for shoulder dislocation

Surgery is generally a last resort for orthopedic conditions like shoulder instability. If possible, your doctor should seek other treatments first and use surgery if these options have failed or are unlikely to succeed. If the damage to the joint, tendons or ligaments is too great, surgery can be a great option to help hold the ball and socket in place. Physical therapy will play a key role in getting you back in action after this type of procedure. The specialists at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group can help determine the best treatment plan for your shoulder dislocation.

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