The shoulder joint is known to be a ball-and-socket joint, which means that the ball of it is rounded in the upper arm and then fits into the socket. The socket is the outer part of the shoulder blade, but when it moves out of the location it needs to have typically, it leads to a condition known as shoulder dislocation. When the top of the humerus is only partially displaced but not completely out of its socket, the condition is shoulder subluxation.
There are cases in which a dislocated shoulder occurs due to an arm being pulled or twisted. This can occur in an outward direction, upward direction, or backward one. This needs to occur with the extreme force for the shoulder to be dislocated. Some other causes of a dislocated shoulder can be a fall or a blow to the shoulder, a seizure, or a very severe electric shock. A shock or a seizure can lead to a shoulder dislocation due to the muscle contractions it can cause.
Shoulder dislocations are divided into three main types:
- The dislocation that occurs toward the front of the body, which is also the most common type of shoulder dislocation. This type of dislocated shoulder usually occurs due to a sports-related injury. In older people, this type of dislocation, other known as an anterior one, can occur due to a fall on an outstretched arm.
- The second type of dislocation is posterior dislocation when the top of the humerus is displaced toward the back. This is a rare type of dislocation and can also most likely occur due to a seizure or an electric shock. A posterior dislocation may also occur due to a fall or a blow to the front of the shoulder.
- An inferior dislocation is when the top of the humerus gets displaced downward, which is also considered the rarest type of shoulder dislocation. Different kinds of trauma can usually cause this to the arm.
A shoulder dislocation is the most common type of injury to the joints and is most common in young adults. In almost all cases, shoulder dislocations are caused by trauma. However, there are also cases in which a shoulder gets dislocated due to a seemingly harmless motion, such as rolling over in bed or raising an arm.
In these cases, it is believed that the shoulder ligaments had to be abnormally loose for such a dislocation to occur previously. A loose ligament can be a condition that runs in the family, which can increase the risk of suffering from a shoulder dislocation, as well as a dislocation of other joints.
What Are the Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder?
A dislocated shoulder typically presents itself with a variety of symptoms, including:
- Severe shoulder pain;
- Limitation of motion of the shoulder;
- Change in the appearance of the shoulder (flat or squared-off shoulder);
- Shoulder bruising or abrasion.
Depending on your symptoms, the expertly trained health care professionals at TRI Physical Therapy center in Brooklyn will use the most advanced and comprehensive treatment options to help you strengthen the affected tissues and restore function.
How Is a Shoulder Dislocation Diagnosed?
If you visit a doctor and present him with your symptoms, then the doctor will first examine both of your shoulders. The medical professional will compare the shoulder that you injured to the uninjured one. You will be checked for tenderness, bruising, shape changes, abrasions, pain, as well as limited motion.
The doctor can also feel the area around the shoulder and locate the head of the humerus under the skin. Your doctor will also check whether there is strength in your hand and fingers, as there are many blood vessels and nerves which travel through the shoulder area, which may also be damaged.
One symptom of an injured nerve would be a feeling of numbness in your arm. While your doctor can diagnose a dislocated shoulder via a physical exam, they will also use an X-ray for confirmation. An X-ray will show images of the shoulder dislocation and confirm the diagnosis that the doctor also bases on the symptoms and the results of your physical exam.
How Is a Dislocated Shoulder Treated?
When the doctors put the displaced upper arm, the humerus, back into its previous place, which is in the socket, then your ability to move the arm will probably begin to improve right away. However, it might take you six to eight weeks to fully regain mobility.
You must rest your arm in the beginning stages of treatment, which can last between one to four weeks. You will need to follow an exercise program during this period, which can help you regain your full strength. It might take you, however, up to one year to fully regain your strength.
This is because the muscles need to relax during treatment. During this period, your doctor might prescribe you, pain killers. In most cases, over-the-counter painkillers can provide sufficient relief. If not, you should tell your doctor about it.
However, if the pain doesn’t go away even if you follow the instructions of your doctors strictly, it might be necessary to get surgery, which repairs the fibrous tissues that have the function of supporting the shoulder joint.
Is There a Way of Preventing Shoulder Dislocations?
If you’ve already suffered from a dislocated shoulder, your doctor might prescribe you physical therapy, which can help to strengthen your muscles, as this can prevent a repeated injury. Nonetheless, those who suffer from a shoulder dislocation remain at an increased risk of suffering from this condition again, especially those who play contact sports.
If you are suffering from a dislocated shoulder, reach out to our state-of-the-art physical therapy center for a same-day appointment, in-personal consultation, and highly individualized treatment. We provide a shoulder dislocation treatment to help you recover fast and regain complete functionality at our top-quality facility.