Shoulder dislocation:

Dislocated shoulder ( )

A shoulder dislocation refers to the incident when the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) is out of its socket. It often happens with sports injuries, accidents or without a trauma if patients have weak tissue. A shoulder dislocation always necessitates prompt medical with reduction to an anatomical joint position.

Full Description

The shoulder joints are the most mobile joints in the human body. That’s why it often dislocates. A dislocated shoulder will be diagnosed when the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) is out of its socket (glenoid). Not uncommonly the humerus relocates itself after dislocation. The symptoms usually include a feeling of instability and severe pain in the shoulder.


Blurred vision, Vision impairment for far objects, Pain radiating to the arm, Joint instability

Medical Conditions

Causes of a shoulder dislocation include injuries connected with sports or accidents and the habitual dislocations, where the tissue around the joint is too weak. In the majority of cases the head of the humerus dislocates forward and downward. Very rarely backwards or upwards. It often happens in sports where you do a lot of throwing or due to a direct trauma. The dislocation is very likely to injure or stretch some of the muscles, tendons, ligaments or even bones of the shoulder joint. All of these supporting tissues help to keep the shoulder joint in place. If they are damaged the joint becomes unstable and another dislocation gets facilitated. Besides the malposition of the shoulder, people with shoulder dislocation often have symptoms like extreme pain and therefore inability to move the arm, swelling and bruising at the shoulder, numbness, tingling or weakness in the arm, hand or fingers. A common injury due to a shoulder dislocation is the lesion of the axillary nerve, which results in numbness on the lateral part of the shoulder and a palsy of the deltoid muscle.


In the majority of cases the dislocated head of the humerus will be moved back into its socket by a doctor. This procedure is known as closed reduction. With successful reduction the extreme pain stops immediately and the arm can be moved again. To support the healing process of the injured joint the doctor may prescribe a sling or a brace to rest the arm for e few days. The painful and swollen area can be cooled with ice several times a day. In case that shoulder dislocation becomes a recurring (chronic) issue a surgery may become necessary. If ligaments have been torn or bone (mostly the glenoid) has been broken by the dislocation or if the doctors are unable to reduce the humerus, surgery will also be necessary to stabilize the joint and repair tissue damage.