Dislocated shoulder signs and symptoms may include:
- A visibly deformed or out-of-place shoulder
- Swelling or 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
Get medical help right away for a shoulder that appears dislocated.
While you're waiting for medical attention:
Aug. 16, 2014
- 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. Accessed June 30, 2014.
- Dislocated shoulder. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00035. Accessed June 30, 2014.
- 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 June 30, 2014.
- Traumatic shoulder dislocation. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. http://www.sportsmed.org/Patient/Sports_Tips/AOSSM_Sports_Tips_Sheets/. Accessed June 30, 2014.
- 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.