What Is a Shoulder Dislocation?
A shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone is partially or fully forced out of the shoulder socket. Sometimes, the fibrous tissue that secures the shoulder bones in place can become stretched or torn, further complicating the dislocation. Often a result of direct trauma to the shoulder, this type of injury can occur during a fall, sporting mishap or car accident.
What does a shoulder dislocation feel like?
Sometimes, it is possible to feel the arm bone “pop” out of place. Usually, this sensation is followed by intense pain, swelling, bruising and muscle weakness in the shoulder and arm. Other symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include:
- An inability to move the shoulder or raise the arm
- Numbness and tingling near the injury site
- Muscle spasms that worsen the pain
If a shoulder dislocation is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In the meantime, the affected shoulder should be held in a sling or otherwise immobilized to help prevent further damage. Ice applications can help relieve pain and swelling by constricting blood vessels and reducing the buildup of fluids in and around the damaged shoulder joint.
How is a shoulder dislocation treated?
Depending on the type and extent of the damage, a dislocated shoulder may be treated with:
- A closed reduction procedure – A physician can manually guide the shoulder bones back into their proper positions.
- Medications – An over-the-counter pain reliever or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may be taken to improve comfort. If necessary, a physician may also prescribe a muscle relaxant.
- Temporary immobilization – A special splint or sling may be worn for a short period of time to keep the shoulder from moving excessively as it heals.
- Physical therapy – A progressive rehabilitation program can be performed to restore strength, stability and range of motion to the shoulder joint.
- A surgical procedure – Surgery may be considered to address a weakened shoulder joint, recurrent shoulder dislocations or nerve damage.
A relatively simple shoulder dislocation that does not involve major tissue or nerve damage may slowly improve over the course of a few weeks. Activities should be resumed gradually in order to help prevent reinjury. Any type of shoulder dislocation will increase the risk of future dislocations, even after the initial injury has fully healed.
If you’ve injured your shoulder, you can consult with an experienced orthopedic specialist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX. Since 1983, our team has proudly served Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas. We can evaluate your injury and make tailored recommendations to help you resume your active lifestyle.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr Tanous and Chris are the best! Thank you for always taking such good care of me!
I’ve been going to this office to see Dr. Blalock 4 months. He has done 4 different hand surgeries some in February and 1 in April. I probably will need another surgery next year and Dr. Blalock will be my surgeon.
They are very professional and attentive. I was having shoulder pain. The wait was short and staff very kind.
Doctor Brooks is the best. His advice to get lubricant injected into my knees has made my life so much better. Kudos!
This office did everything they could to get me in timely after a very bad sprain on my ankle. I saw nurse practitioner Stuart who is very thorough and x-rays and explaining everything to me.
So I was going to get on here and brag about what a great surgeon Dr. Cubbage is. But Cubbage is only 3/4 of the picture. He’ll fix you, but Karen is the one that will care for you and heal you!
Dr. Mihu is the most intelligent and polite Dr I have ever visited. Her and her nurse Nicole made me feel so welcomed. I have never encountered a doctor who knew so much and asked so many important questions
Always treated promptly and kindly at AOSM. Thanks to Dr Mack and his team.
Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has, at 76, virtually given me a new lease on being mobile and active. I have seen Dr’s Tanous, Patel, and Cubbage for an assortment of neck, spine and hip problems.
Everyone here is so professional and kind. Everything was explained to me so that could understand what had to be done.