Shoulder dislocation is a very common injury, mostly caused by a hard fall or a collision with an object or another person. Read below to know the symptoms and treatment of dislocated shoulder.

Shoulder Dislocation

Of all the traumatic injuries, shoulder dislocation is considered to be the most popular, particularly so in sports, where athletes are the most common victims of this injury. The most common form of shoulder dislocation is the anterior dislocation. In this form of injury, the upper arm bone moves forward, and is held out to the side. The other less common forms of dislocation can occur in the posterior, inferior, superior or intra thoracic regions of the shoulder. Though uncommon, these form of shoulder dislocation can cause more damage and complications like muscle, tendon or nerve tear. One reason why the shoulder joint gets so easily dislocated is because this joint confers a wide and diverse range of mobility. This makes it less stable and prone to dislocation more frequently as compared to any other joint in the body. Even if the surrounding ligaments and muscles are not damaged, the dislocation can cause severe pain, which at times can be quite unbearable. To know more on shoulder dislocation read below for the symptoms and treatment of this injury.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Dislocation
  • The primary symptom of shoulder dislocation is severe pain at the shoulder joint.
  • There is also extreme difficulty in moving the arm. Any movement of the arm leads to extreme pain.
  • The pain is not only concentrated in the shoulder, but can be felt in the entire arm.
  • Apart from the constant nagging pain, the arm may also go numb and feel very weak.
  • Sometimes the dislocation can be visible, as the shoulder tends to appear square.
  • If the side of the dislocated shoulder is touched, then one can’t feel the bone.
  • There is swelling in the shoulder joint region.
Treatments Of Shoulder Dislocation
  • The moment you realize that your shoulder has dislocated, you should take steps so that you involuntarily do not move the joint. You can do this by tying your shoulder in a joint or bandaging it with a splint. Thereafter, rush for medical help.
  • You should go for the following four steps:
    • X-Ray - this is mandatory as the X-ray will reveal the dislocation and any other damages to the joint.
    • MRI - this will help in assessing any damage to the soft tissues around the shoulder joint. MRI provides cross-sectional images of the joint and is very effective in getting a three dimensional view of the dislocation.
    • Anthrogram - a contrast fluid is injected into the shoulder so that certain structures of the shoulder joint are highlighted during the X-ray. This method is very effective in locating any tear or blockage caused by ligament or nerve injury.
    • Electromyography (EMG) - this procedure is done to evaluate the nerve damage caused due to the dislocation of the shoulder. This is done by measuring the electrical activity in the shoulder muscles when it is at rest and when contracted.
  • The doctor can put the shoulder back in place through a process called closed reduction. If the pain or swelling is too much, then the doctor can give you any relaxant or sedative.
  • To reduce the swelling, you can apply an ice pack on the shoulder. This will also control internal bleeding if any. The ice will also prevent the buildup of fluids around the joint.
  • After the shoulder is put back in place, you need to start exercising the shoulder after a week or two. This will help the arm regain the former strength.

How to Cite

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