A Guide to a Dislocated shoulder

A dislocation of the shoulder occurs when the connective tissues in the shoulder joint and surrounding area becomes damaged or inflamed causing the bones at the joint to become displaced due to high force or strain being placed on the area.

The main cause of a dislocated shoulder is due to the sudden impact to the area which pushes the joint out of place, this can be as a result of a direct hit in a contact sport or from falling onto an outstretched arm.

Those who sustain a dislocated shoulder are likely to feel a sudden surge of pain in the shoulder at the time of the injury which may spread to the arm.

Many people will experience a ‘popping’ sensation in the joint when the injury occurs, and the appearance of the shoulder may become abnormal.

In order to best treat a dislocated shoulder medical attention should be sought immediately to get the injury treated and fully assessed.

Diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder is usually carried out by a doctor or physiotherapist who will examine the area before diagnosing the injury and an X-Ray to assess the severity of the dislocation and rule out any further complications.

After suffering a dislocated shoulder, it will take in-between 12 to 16 weeks to recover, but many people are usually able to return to normal activity after two weeks.

Summary

Causes

  • Force to the shoulder joint which pushes the bone out of socket
  • Direct impact
  • Fall onto an outstretched arm
  • Common in contact sports

Symptoms

  • Sudden pain and ‘popping’ sensation at the point of injury in the shoulder and down the arm
  • Restricted movement of the shoulder
  • Abnormal appearance of the shoulder

Treatment

  • RICE method
  • Relocation of the joint
  • Immobilisation
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Strengthening and Stretching Activities

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