How To Tell If You Have A Dislocated Shoulder

The shoulder is the most common joint to experience dislocations because it is primarily held together by a tight network of ligaments and tendons. The bones of the shoulder are actually quite unstable. Their inherent instability leads to a high probability for dislocation when the shoulder experiences sudden force or impact. Shoulder dislocations are fairly common in recreational or youth sports, such as football. If you or your child experience this injury, you should seek out a shoulder dislocation doctor in San Francisco.

How Does A Shoulder Become Dislocated?

The arm’s upper bone, the humerus, sits in a shallow well on the scapula known as a glenoid. This is the primary skeletal structure of the shoulder. The glenoid is made slightly more stable by a ring of cartilage known as the labrum, which holds the humeral head in place. If a shoulder is subjected to a sudden force or impact, it “dislocates” when the humeral head slips out of the glenoid. An anterior dislocation slips towards the front of the body, while a posterior dislocation slips toward the back of the body.

Identifying A Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocated shoulders will be incredibly unstable, unable to bear weight or move. They will also be visibly deformed. The rounded slope of the shoulder will flatten out when the humerus is dislocated. In addition, the arms’ lengths will not match up, as dislocation causes the arm to lengthen slightly. Other common symptoms of dislocation include swelling, numbness, bruising, weakness, muscle spasms, and intense pain.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in your shoulders, notify a sports injury specialist in the Bay Area for diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment & Rehabilitation

Over 95% of shoulder dislocations are anterior dislocations, caused by external, forceful rotation. Treatment would include icing the shoulder several times a day while resting the arm in a sling. While the shoulder could be reset immediately, the shoulder would experience pain and soreness for several weeks due to potential ligament tears and soft tissue damage.

Rehabilitation exercises would be prescribed by a sports injury specialist in San Francisco. These exercises strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder, creating more stable mobility while preventing the possibility of a future dislocation. The stronger your shoulder muscles, the more tightly your humeral head will remain in the glenoid, resisting forces that cause dislocation. If the shoulder dislocates repeatedly, a brace could be provided to help restore stability.

Want To Speak With San Francisco’s Leading Sports Injury Specialist About Your Shoulder?

Do you have any questions or concerns about an injury you or your child may have experienced? Contact Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht for a consultation by calling (415) 923-0944 or contact us HERE on our website.