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Symptoms of a Shoulder Dislocation

man with shoulder painIf you’ve dislocated your shoulder, you should get medical help right away, and despite what you may have heard, never try to pop it back into place. You could damage the joint as well as its surrounding muscles, ligaments, nerves, or blood vessels.

In this blog, orthopedic physicians Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza of Mirza Orthopedics explain how to recognize the symptoms of a shoulder dislocation.

What is a shoulder dislocation?

The shoulder has a large range of movement, but it’s this mobility that makes it more prone to dislocation. A dislocation happens when the head of the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket. It can be dislocated forward (the most common type of shoulder dislocation), backward or downward. In an addition, the dislocation can be complete or partial, depending on whether the upper arm bone is completely or partially out of the shoulder socket.

When your shoulder is dislocated, there is often damage to surrounding areas as well, such as ligaments, nerves, tendons and blood vessels.

What are the causes of a shoulder dislocation?

It takes a strong impact combined with a twisting motion on an outstretched arm to cause a dislocation, and it can result from the following causes:

  • Sports injuries – such as those that occur in contact sports like football and those that occur in sports that may involve falls, like as skiing
  • Trauma – a hard blow, such as what might occur in a car accident
  • Falls – including falls from a height or merely tripping while walking

What are the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder can cause the following:

  • Severe pain
  • A feeling of instability in the joint
  • A shoulder that looks out of place
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in your neck or down your arm
  • Inability to move the joint
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Spasms in shoulder muscles

 What treatments are available for a dislocated shoulder?

Your doctor will return the ball back into its socket, which should alleviate your pain. However, you may still experience swelling and soreness for a while.

Depending on the complexity and severity of your dislocation, the following treatments may be used:

  • Holding your shoulder still with a sling or brace
  • Icing your shoulder several times a day
  • Performing gentle exercises within the first week and gradually adding more
  • Using anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants
  • Bracing the shoulder if dislocation reoccurs

When more conservative methods aren’t effective enough, surgery may be needed to help hold the joint in place by repairing or tightening damaged ligaments. This is more common if your shoulder has been dislocated more than once and the ligaments and tendons that help stabilize your shoulder have become stretched and loosened.

If you’ve dislocated your shoulder, it’s important to seek proper treatment. Make an appointment today with Mirza Orthopedics on Long Island to receive the latest, most effective non-surgical and surgical treatment options. We’ll help relieve your pain and increase your mobility while helping to prevent further damage to your shoulder and surrounding tendons, ligaments, and more.

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