Dislocated Shoulder

What is a Dislocated Shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the shoulder area takes a blunt amount of forced trauma causing the upper arm bone to pop out of the shoulder socket. This injury can cause aggravating pain and needs immediate medical attention. This injury may also affect the surrounding muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. 

Partial vs Full Shoulder Dislocation

A partial dislocation also known as subluxation means the head of the upper arm bone is partially out of the socket. A full dislocation means that the head of the upper arm bone has fully popped out of the shoulder socket. Both injuries can cause extreme pain and require medical attention.

What Does a Dislocated Shoulder Mean?

Having a dislocated shoulder means that your upper arm bone has popped out of place from where it is situated in the shoulder socket. This means that you have experienced a significant amount of trauma to the shoulder socket, and possibly the surrounding area. This can also be caused by weakened muscles in the area.

Dislocated Shoulder Symptoms

  • Intense pain
  • Visible bruising, swelling, and dislocation
  • Lack of control over the joint
  • Shoulder muscle spasms
  • Neck or arm numbness
  • Shoulder weakness

Shoulder Dislocation Causes

Since the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, it is also easier to dislocate. This dislocation is the most frequent in the body because the shoulder can move and dislocate in many directions. The most common shoulder dislocation is the forward dislocation which occurs when the arm moves in a throwing position. When you experience shoulder dislocation, the joint is more prone to repeated dislocations. Causes of shoulder dislocation include but are not limited to:

  • Falls
  • Landing on the shoulder or arm area can force the shoulder to dislocate
  • Sports Injuries
  • Shoulder dislocation is very common during contact sports
  • Trauma
  • Sudden blows to the shoulders during accidents can cause immediate dislocation to happen

Dislocated Shoulder Immediate Treatment

After dislocating the shoulder, it is important to not pop the arm back in place on your own as this can cause further injury to the area. A skilled doctor is required to safely put the ball of the upper arm bone back into the socket. This is called closed reduction. Once the arm is back in place, the pain subsides immediately. Complications of shoulder dislocation include:

  • Torn tendons, ligaments, and muscles that reinforce the joint
  • Nerve and muscle damage
  • Repeat dislocations 

Dislocated Shoulder Physical Therapy

Your doctor may immediately want to rest the shoulder in a sling to allow for proper healing and rest of the area. Once swelling and pain have diminished a fair amount, your doctor will prescribe physical therapy to help you restore the area’s range of motion and strengthen any weakened muscles. This exercise can help prevent a repeat injury from happening. In severe cases where bracing the arm and physical therapy do not help, surgery can be performed to recover stretched and torn ligaments that help to stabilize the joint in place. 

Physical therapy can help restore the area’s range of motion and strengthen weakened muscles. In some cases, the likelihood of shoulder injury can be mitigated by increasing the strength in the arms, shoulder, and neck. 

Contact Us

If you are struggling with shoulder dislocation pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment at Resilient Performance Physical Therapy in Manhattan NYC, Chatham & Wharton New Jersey, and Darien Connecticut. Join us today to begin your journey on the path to recovery and healing.

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