What is shoulder dislocation?
At the top of the bone of your upper arm, there is a ball that fits into the socket of your shoulder joint. That ball is held in the socket by the muscles that surround the joint. If the ball pops out of the socket, the shoulder is dislocated.
Shoulder dislocation symptoms
When your shoulder is dislocated, your arm may look like it’s out of its proper position. Other symptoms include:
- Tingling in the neck or arm
You have may also have spasms in the muscles around your shoulder joint. This can make the injury even more painful.
Shoulder dislocation causes and risk factors
A sudden blow to your shoulder can dislocate it, as can any kind of exaggerated rotation movement, like when you throw a ball or swing your arm.
Some of the more common ways people dislocate a shoulder include:
- Playing high-contact sports like:
- Any sport with a risk of falling
- Car accidents
- Falling while walking on ice or while doing work around the house
Shoulder dislocation treatment options
A doctor can treat your dislocated shoulder by using a technique called “closed reduction.” The doctor gently moves the ball of the upper arm back into the socket. While you recover from shoulder dislocation, you may be told to:
- Wear a sling or shoulder immobilizer
- Take pain medicine or a muscle relaxer
- Apply ice to the shoulder several times a day
After the swelling and pain go away, you may do exercises to make the muscles around the shoulder stronger. These exercises will also help your shoulder move more freely again.
After your shoulder has been dislocated once, it may be easier to dislocate again in the future, especially if you continue to do whatever dislocated the shoulder in the first place. If your shoulder dislocates frequently, your doctor may suggest surgery to make the shoulder joint more stable.