Summary of Shoulder Dislocation
A shoulder dislocation is when the ball pops out of the socket in the shoulder joint, causing pain and complete loss of movement. It is usually caused by direct trauma.
Shoulder Dislocation FAQ's
The shoulder joint is secured by the muscles and ligaments that surround it, allowing the shoulder to move freely in all directions. When the ball at the top of the arm comes out of its shallow socket in the shoulder, they become dislocated. Though the first case is often brought on by trauma, once it has happened once you can become relatively prone to it happening again. The injury causes extreme pain and serious debilitation, and the two must be put back together by a medical professional – a procedure that is quick but again causes pain and muscle weakness.
The symptoms are of course severe pain in the shoulder and arm, and an inability to move the shoulder. The appearance of the shoulder will look disjointed rather than rounded, with the top of the arm bone sticking out at a funny angle. Even after the shoulder joint has been restored to its normal position, it will feel weak and vulnerable.
The recovery time depends on your age and range of physical exertion, but the rehabilitation process usually lasts at least a few weeks. Following a first dislocation, the shoulder may be prone to reoccurrence of dislocation especially in young patients, and so surgical intervention may be necessary to fix the shoulder ligaments. Exercises will help strengthen the muscles and restore the shoulder to full activity as quickly as possible.
A shoulder dislocation is usually caused by a sudden trauma that forces the shoulder out of its socket. Subsequent dislocations may then be caused by more minor activities and will in most cases be less painful due to the tissues already having been stretched. The chance of reoccurrence will be greater if proper rehabilitation is not completed after the original injury., and in some cases surgery may be necessary to stabilise the joint.
Once the shoulder is back in its normal position, it needs to be protected and kept relatively still for a few weeks to allow tissues around it to heal. Increasing movement slowly will be key to restoring movement and regaining strength in the shoulder.
Other treatments may include pain management and taping to keep the shoulder in position. By strengthening the muscles around the joint, the stability of the shoulder will be restored.
The shoulder joint relies on the strength of the muscles that surround it, and so it is vital you perform the exercises necessary to regain strength in these muscles. By doing this during rehabilitation and after, you have the best chance of preventing the injury from happening again.