A shoulder dislocation means that the bones in your shoulder have moved out of place so that the joint no longer works properly. The dislocation can put pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in your shoulder and arm and damage them. When your shoulder is dislocated, you may also have broken bones.
The healing process may take 4 to 12 weeks, depending on your injury. With proper healing, you should regain full movement of your shoulder.
A shoulder dislocation can be caused by a fall onto your hand or your shoulder, by twisting your upper arm, or if your arm is forced into an awkward position. It may also be caused by weak or loose ligaments that you were born with. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. Other members of your family may have the same problem.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. You will have X-rays.
A dislocated shoulder needs treatment right away to prevent permanent damage to the nerves and blood vessels.
Your healthcare provider will put the bones back in the right position. You may need to have a local or general anesthetic to keep you from feeling pain when this is done. Your healthcare provider will place your shoulder and arm in a type of sling called a shoulder immobilizer. It keeps your arm next to your body and stops you from moving your shoulder. You will wear the immobilizer for 2 to 3 weeks. You may start rehabilitation exercises during this time or after you are no longer wearing the immobilizer.
In some cases, surgery may be needed. If your shoulder joint dislocates often, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to tighten the ligaments that hold the joint together.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:
Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.