A dislocated shoulder is what its name depicts. It is a fairly common and sudden onset type of injury in which the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket, either partially or fully.
A shoulder can dislocate in any direction – forward, backward, or downward. However, forward dislocation of the shoulder accounts for nearly 97% of all cases.
If you suspect a shoulder dislocation, here is what you should do and how to treat your dislocated shoulder joint.
What to Do for Dislocated Shoulder?
Shoulder visibly out of place, along with extreme pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and arm immobility are common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder.
If you believe that you have all these signs, with some others:
- Do not move your arm, and keep it close to your body.
- Do not try to put your shoulder back into its place by yourself, as this can damage your muscles, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Take a painkiller to ease your pain, and apply ice to reduce inflammation.
- Call 911 or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
How to Treat Dislocated Shoulders?
After diagnosing shoulder dislocation, your orthopedic surgeon will first place the arm bone back into the shoulder socket.
For this, a shoulder surgeon may do:
Most shoulder dislocations are treated with closed reduction – a procedure in which your orthopedic surgeon moves the shoulder bones back into position with gentle maneuvers. The process is called closed because no incisions are made during the procedure. Severe pain should subside as soon as the shoulder bones are in their right place and alignment.
Before reduction, if your pain and joint swelling are severe, your orthopedic surgeon might use anesthesia.
After the closed reduction process, you will be advised to wear a sling for a prescribed period of time and go for physical therapy to regain your range of motion and strengthen the muscle around the shoulder joint.
You may need surgery if you are a victim of repeated shoulder dislocations (despite strengthening and rehabilitation) due to a weak joint or shoulder ligament.
It’s very rare to have damaged blood vessels or nerves along with shoulder dislocation, but surgery is your option if you have.During the surgery, your shoulder joint is stabilized to prevent further dislocations and minimize the risk of long-term problems like degenerative arthritis.
Pain-relieving medications and muscle relaxants may be recommended after closed reduction or surgery to provide you comfort while your shoulder heals.
A rehabilitation program is considered necessary to restore the normal range of motion of the shoulder. It also helps regain strength and stability of the shoulder when a splint or sling is no longer needed.
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A simple shoulder dislocation with no complications should improve over a few weeks. It is also important to keep in mind that resuming your activities too early can also increase your risk for re-injury.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our orthopedic surgeons treat shoulder dislocations with great care so that your injury heals quickly and completely and there are no future complications. At our facilities, we have advanced diagnostic facilities like x-rays and ultrasound to quickly diagnose your shoulder injuries and provide effective treatment according to your diagnosis.
If you would like to make an appointment with us, call us today at (210) 692-7400 or use our convenient online form to send a request.