If you have dislocated your shoulder, your upper arm bone (humerus) has moved out of your shoulder joint. This is the most frequently dislocated major joint of your body. Dislocation is often caused by a significant force that separates your shoulder joint's ball (the top rounded portion of your upper arm bone) from your joint's socket (glenoid).
Your shoulder can dislocate in several ways, including:
Your shoulder can be either partially or completely dislocated. Partial dislocation is when the head of your upper arm is partially out of your shoulder socket. Complete dislocation is when the head of your upper arm is completely out of your shoulder socket.
The following are the most common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a dislocated shoulder may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for a dislocated shoulder usually include an X-ray.
Your healthcare provider discusses with you specific treatment for a shoulder dislocation, based on:
Treatment may include:
Maintaining muscle strength and flexibility can help prevent shoulder dislocations. Once your shoulder is dislocated, physical therapy may help prevent you from dislocating it in the future. Through restoring your shoulder’s range of motion and physical strength, your risk for dislocation decreases.
Once your shoulder has been placed back into the socket joint, your healthcare provider may advise you to keep your shoulder immobilized in a sling or other device for several weeks after treatment. Resting and applying ice to the affected area several times a day will help your pain and swelling diminish.
After your pain and swelling subside, you may need to do some rehabilitation exercises to help restore your shoulder’s range of motion and strengthen your muscles.
You should contact your healthcare provider if you have the following symptoms:
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