How To Know If You Have A Dislocated Shoulder

February 25th, 2020 Becki Andrus

Your shoulder is among the largest joints that are contained within your body. It is located where your upper arm bone – which is also referred to as the humerus –  meets the shoulder blade – which is also called the scapula. Their union creates a ball-and-socket which forms your shoulder joint. 

Your collarbone, which is also referred to as the clavicle is also part of this important joint, along with a group of muscles and tendons that form your rotator cuff. Your shoulder also contains sacs of fluid that provide a layer of protection between your tendons and your bones. The sacks are also referred to as bursa. 

All of these elements assist in the process of various movements that you make during your day-to-day activities. These include actions that require motion, such as reaching, throwing, and lifting. Your shoulder is fully equipped to handle these movements. However, there are various health issues that can keep your shoulder from functioning properly. 

One troublesome injury that can emerge is a shoulder dislocation, which comprises around 50% of all major joint dislocations. In some cases, this condition can occur with the shoulder moving forward from the socket. If this has occurred, the injury is referred to as an anterior dislocation, which involves nearly 95% of all dislocations. However, there are other cases in which the shoulder joint will have moved backward. The dislocation can also be partial in either direction, or the dislocation can also be complete, which results from the ball becoming fully out of place.

Causes Of A Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocation could occur as the result of a throwing motion while participating in a sporting event or recreational activity. Significant contact with your shoulder during a sporting event or automobile collision can also lead to dislocation, while falling is another frequent cause of this condition. Anyone who has already experienced a dislocation of the shoulder is more likely to contend with the issue once again.   

Symptoms Of A Dislocated Shoulder

If you are contending with a dislocation, the severe pain that you feel in the shoulder and upper arm will make you aware that you probably dealing with this condition. You could also observe swelling in your shoulder, or notice that your shoulder now contains a bump in either the front or back of the joint. 

You might also be aware of a loss in your range of motion. In other cases bruising, weakness or numbness in the shoulder area are also indications that you may be dealing with a dislocation. 

Some dislocation of the shoulder will involve torn ligaments, while in some cases torn tendons can emerge. Other patients might find themselves contending with damaged nerves within the shoulder area. 

If you hear a popping sound when you attempt to raise your arm this is an indication that you have suffered a dislocation. This is also the case if you experience pain when you lift your arm

What A Doctor Will Do

If you believe that you have suffered a dislocation in your shoulder, it is important for you to seek immediate medical attention. You should also avoid moving your shoulder joint, as this could lead to additional issues within your shoulder area.

When you visit a physician, they will ask a series of questions that will be designed to determine the cause of your discomfort. This conversation will include the specifics of your pain, and whether or not you have experienced an event that might have created the discomfort. You will also be asked about your personal medical history, along with the history of your family members. 

Your physician might also prefer to use imaging testing such as an x-ray in order to provide you with a diagnosis. If your doctor determines that you are dealing with a dislocated shoulder, it is likely that he or she will have your shoulder placed in a sling in order to ensure that you are resting it properly.  

After the healing process has begun, it might be recommended that you also become involved with physical therapy. This will include exercises that will increase the strength of your shoulder, while also improving its flexibility.  

If you have also experienced a dislocated shoulder in the past, then you might also be asked to wear a shoulder brace. This will hold the shoulder intact during the recovery period. 

At Orthopedic Associates We Are Here To Help 

It is of vital importance that your shoulder is functioning properly, and the professionals at Orthopedic Associates are ready to provide you with their expertise whenever you or someone in your family is contending with any type of shoulder pain. Our collection of board-certified doctors supply the vast knowledge that can only result from a combined total of 183 years of experience.

Our team of physicians is also comprised of specialists for every condition that you might encounter. We also offer in-house x-ray and MRI capabilities as part of our full spectrum of musculoskeletal care at Orthopedic Associates.  These resources and our expertise are equally beneficial in providing you with effective treatment plans that will guide you back to a pain-free existence.

The specialists at Orthopedic Associates can also help you with a large range of shoulder conditions, including a dislocation of the shoulder:

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Arthritis

·        Anatomy of the Shoulder

·        Biceps Tendinitis

·        Biceps Tendon Rupture

·        Burners and Stingers

·        Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder (Degenerative Calcification)

·        Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder (Reactive Calcification)

          Fracture of the Collarbone (Clavicle)

·        Fracture of the Shoulder Socket (Glenoid Fracture)

·        Fractures of the Greater Tuberosity

·        Fractures of the Shoulder Blade (Scapula)

·        Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

·        Glenoid Labrum Tears

·        Hill-Sachs Lesion

·        Loose Shoulder (Multidirectional Instability)

·        Muscle Imbalance in the Shoulder

·        Muscle Strain of the Upper Back (Trapezius Strain)

·        Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

·        Osteomyelitis

·        Proximal Humerus Fracture (Broken Shoulder)

·        Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) of the Shoulder

·        Rotator Cuff Injuries/Tears

·        Shoulder Dislocations

·        Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

·        Shoulder SeparationSLAP Tear (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior Tear)

·        Snapping Scapula Syndrome

·        Subacromial Bursitis

·        Suprascapular Neuropathy

·        Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

·        Winged Scapula


Our orthopedic experts are highly experienced in performing multiple types of treatments and surgeries for the shoulder including:

·        Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis

·        Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Separation Repair

·        Anesthesia

·        Arthroscopic Bankart Repair

·        Arthroscopic Capsular Plication/Release

·        Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

·        Biceps Tenodesis

·        Cold Laser Therapy

·        Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

·        Diagnostic Arthroscopy (Shoulder) · Distal Clavicle Excision (Resection Arthroscopic Technique)

·        Electromyography (EMG)

·        Glenohumeral Debridement

·        HemiCap® Resurfacing

·        Intracapsular (Glenoid) Injection

·        Joint Injection (Therapeutic Shoulder)

·        Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

·        Mini-Open Rotator Cuff Repair

·        Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control

·        Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)

·        ORIF Surgery for Proximal Humerus Fracture

·        Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection Ove

·        Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

·        Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

·        Rotator Cuff Repair (Mini-Open Supraspinatus Insertion

·        Shoulder Impingement Surgery

·        Shoulder Resurfacing

·        SLAP Repair

         Subacromial Injection

·        Suprascapular Nerve Block (Fluoroscopically Guided)

·        Total Shoulder Replacement

·        Ultrasound-Guided Injection for Shoulder Pain

Even if shoulder pain is not your primary concern, we also offer multiple solutions for a wide range of conditions – both with or without surgery. Visit one of the Orthopedic Associates’ two locations or request an appointment today. We are fully committed to paving the path toward a pain-free life for you.

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