Shoulder Dislocation

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone (the humerus) pops out of the shoulder socket (the glenoid cavity) in the shoulder blade (the scapula). This can happen due to trauma, such as a fall or a direct blow to the shoulder, or it can occur in people with hypermobility or certain underlying medical conditions that make their shoulder joints more prone to dislocation.

Here are some key points about shoulder dislocations:

Types of Shoulder Dislocations:

  • Anterior dislocation: This is the most common type, where the humerus is displaced forward from the socket.
  • Posterior dislocation: This occurs when the humerus is pushed backward.
  • Inferior dislocation: In this less common type, the humerus is displaced downward


Medical professionals can diagnose a shoulder dislocation through physical examination and imaging studies such as X-rays or MRI to confirm the dislocation and assess any associated injuries.


  • Severe pain in the shoulder.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Limited range of motion in the shoulder.
  • The appearance of a visibly deformed shoulder.


  • The primary treatment for a shoulder dislocation is a reduction, where a healthcare provider manipulates the bones back into their proper positions. This should be done by a medical professional to prevent further injury.
  • After reduction, the shoulder is often immobilized with a sling or brace.
  • Physical therapy may be recommended to help regain strength and range of motion.
  • In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair damaged tissues, especially if the dislocation is recurrent or associated with significant injury.


  • Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the dislocation and any associated injuries.
  • Rehabilitation exercises are crucial for restoring shoulder strength and function.
  • Patients should follow their healthcare provider's instructions for rehabilitation and activity restrictions.


  • People with a history of shoulder dislocations may benefit from exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve stability.
  • Protective gear may be advisable in sports or activities with a high risk of shoulder injuries.

It's essential to seek medical attention promptly if you suspect a shoulder dislocation or have sustained a shoulder injury to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Delayed or improperly managed shoulder dislocations can lead to complications, such as recurrent dislocations or chronic instability.

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