Dislocated Shoulder: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on: 27 April 2019

Your shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint, which allows for a greater range of motion and makes it easier to perform life's everyday tasks. Unfortunately, because your shoulder joint is so mobile, it is prone to injury, including becoming dislocated. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about shoulder dislocations, including what it feels like and how to treat the dislocation.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder?

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball of portion of the joint falls out of the socket. Here are a few of the symptoms you might experience if your shoulder becomes dislocated:

  • Pain
  • A feeling like your shoulder joint is loose or out of place
  • Weakness
  • Numbness in your shoulder, arms, hands, and fingers
  • Bruising
  • Inflammation

When your shoulder joint is out of place, it can be difficult to move your arms and fingers.

What Are Common Ways a Shoulder Becomes Dislocated?

Unfortunately, because your shoulder joint is so flexible and moveable, it is more prone to dislocations that other joints in the body. There are several ways your shoulder can fall out of joint. For example, one of the most common ways a shoulder becomes dislocated is while playing contact sports, such as football.

Individuals with seizure disorders or the elderly can also suffer should dislocations after a fall. Shoulder dislocations are also common during a car accident. No matter what your age, if you fall with your arm outstretched and it twists when you can land, you can easily dislocate your shoulder as well.

When Should I See My Doctor?

If you suspect your, your loved one, or your child's shoulder has been dislocated, visit your local emergency room immediately. The emergency room doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the dislocation occurred. A physical examinations and X-rays will help you doctor determine the extent of the dislocation and how to proceed.

For example, the doctor may provide you with pain medication before performing a closed reduction, which involves placing the shoulder joint back into place. The doctor will provide you with a sling and tell you how to handle any pain. This could include over-the-counter medications and icing your shoulder.

In extreme cases, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon to determine if any damage to the shoulder joint occurred during the dislocation.

If you experience the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder, including pain, swelling, and numbness, visit the local emergency room to have the joint put back into place and receive any other medical attention you may require. For more information, reach out to clinics like the Orthopaedic Associates of Rochester.