Dislocated shoulder signs and symptoms may include:
- A visibly deformed or out of place shoulder
- Swelling or discoloration (bruising)
- Intense pain
- Inability to move the joint
Shoulder dislocation may also cause numbness, weakness or tingling near the injury, such as in your neck or down your arm. The muscles in your shoulder may spasm from the disruption, often increasing the intensity of your pain.
When to see a doctor
It can be difficult to tell a broken bone from a dislocated bone. If you or your child appears to have a dislocated shoulder, get medical help right away.
While you're waiting for medical attention:
Aug. 31, 2011
- Don't move the joint. Splint or sling the shoulder joint in its current position. Don't try to move the shoulder or force it back into place. This can damage the shoulder joint and its surrounding muscles, ligaments, nerves or blood vessels.
- Ice the injured joint. Applying ice to your shoulder can help reduce pain and swelling by controlling internal bleeding and the buildup of fluids in and around your shoulder joint.
- Sherman SC, et al. Shoulder dislocation and reduction. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Ronai P. Exercise and shoulder pain. American College of Sports Medicine. http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Current_Comments1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=11050. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Rudzinski JP, et al. Shoulder and humerus injuries. In: Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=612479. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Coleman R, et al. Orthopedic emergencies. In: Stone CK, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3102784. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Dodson CC, et al. Anterior glenohumeral joint dislocations. Orthopedic Clinics of North America. 2008;39:507.
- Quillen DM, et al. Acute shoulder injuries. American Family Physician. 2004;70:1947.
- Questions and answers about shoulder problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Shoulder_Problems/default.asp. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Zacchilli MA, et al. Epidemiology of shoulder dislocations presenting to emergency departments in the United States. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2010;92:542.