The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of three bones; the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). The head of the humerus fits into the shallow socket in the shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. Strong connective tissues keep the head placed into the socket.
The shoulder is the most moveable joint in your body as it allows you to rotate or lift the arm in any direction. Sometimes, due to overuse or a sudden injury, the ball can completely come out of the socket and this is referred to as a ‘shoulder dislocation’.
A shoulder dislocation is very painful. Here are some of the common symptoms to look out for:
Severe trauma or injury can cause an initial shoulder dislocation but this first dislocation may lead to recurrent dislocations in the future.
The following may be reasons why your shoulder keeps dislocating:
Treatment of an unstable or dislocated shoulder depends upon various factors.
The treatment may include a combination of :
Assessment of a patient with a shoulder dislocation always begins with a thorough history and examination. Levels of activity that result in a sense of ‘apprehension’, frequency of dislocation, and associated pain levels all influence the treatment strategy. The clinical exam typically confirms a positive apprehension test for instability.
Non-surgical treatment includes:
However, non-surgical treatments may not always work. Typically, the younger the patient and the higher the frequency of dislocations, the more likely is it for a non-surgical treatment to fail. As such, there is a higher risk of recurring dislocation and instability. If this happens, then doctors may suggest surgical options.
This aims to repair torn or stretched ligaments so that they can hold the shoulder in place.
In this day and age, shoulder stabilization surgery may be performed either via :
After the surgery, rehabilitation is very important. The patient has to be in a sling and initiate rehabilitation to improve arm mobility. If you have a simple shoulder dislocation without major tissue damage, your shoulder joint will probably improve over a few weeks. Resuming activity too soon after shoulder dislocation may cause you to injure your shoulder joint or to dislocate it again.
After surgery, some people may experience a complication. General risks or complications can be blood loss or anesthesia. However, specific complications may include:
After being treated for the dislocated shoulder, you should try these home remedies and lifestyle to ease discomfort and encourage faster healing:
Once your injury heals and you have a good range of motion in your shoulder, continue exercising. Daily shoulder stretches and a shoulder-strengthening exercise program can help prevent repetitive dislocation. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help with an exercise routine for you.