Shoulder joint is the most mobile and flexible part of the body. It can turn in many directions without causing any discomfort and since it is a flexible joint, it sometimes automatically puts the shoulder in a vulnerable position. A shoulder dislocation is when the round ball at the top of the upper arm, called humerus, leaves the socket in the shoulder making the ball of the humerus out of position. This leaves the balls and socket out of place.
- Anterior (forward): This is the type of dislocation in which the head of the bones is moved forward i.e. away from the socket. This is one of the most common types of dislocation and the reason this happens is when your arm is extended.
- Posterior (behind): This type of dislocation occurs when the head of the arm moves behind and above the socket. This usually occurs in patients having frequent seizures.
- Inferior (bottom): The head of the arm bone is pushed down and out of the socket toward the armpit. This is the least common type of dislocation.
Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling or weakness in the arm
- Difficulty moving arms
The shoulder joint is the most frequently dislocated joint of the body. Because it moves in several directions, your shoulder can dislocate forward, backward or downward, completely or partially, though most dislocations occur through the front of the shoulder. In addition, fibrous tissue that joins the bones of your shoulder can be stretched or torn, often complicating the dislocation.
It takes a strong force, such as a sudden blow to your shoulder, to pull the bones out of place. Extreme rotation of your shoulder joint can pop the ball of your upper arm bone out of your shoulder socket. Partial dislocation — in which your upper arm bone is partially in and partially out of your shoulder socket — also may occur.
A dislocated shoulder may be caused by:
- Sports injuries: Shoulder dislocation is a common injury in contact sports, such as football and hockey, and in sports that may involve falls, such as downhill skiing, gymnastics and volleyball.
- Trauma not related to sports: A hard blow to your shoulder during a motor vehicle accident is a common source of dislocation.
- Falls: You may dislocate your shoulder during a fall, such as from a ladder or from tripping on a loose rug.
During a physical examination, the doctor will examine the affected area for swelling, tenderness and pain. He might recommend an X-ray of your shoulder to assess if there are any broken bones or any other damage in your shoulder joint.
Below are some of the treatment methods that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of the shoulders.
- Surgery: When no treatment works, no medication relieves the pain, your doctor may recommend immediate surgery if your nerves or blood vessels are damaged.
- Immobilization: Your doctor may ask you to wear a supporter to avoid the movement of your shoulder for at least 2 to 3 weeks.
- Medicines: Depending on the severity of the pain, your doctor may prescribe some muscle relaxant, sedative and supplements to help improve the strength of the bones.