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:

  • 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.
Aug. 31, 2011