Shoulder Dislocation

What is a shoulder dislocation?

If you have dislocated your shoulder, your upper arm bone (humerus) has moved out of your shoulder joint. This is the most frequently dislocated major joint of your body. Dislocation is often caused by a significant force that separates your shoulder joint’s ball (the top rounded portion of your upper arm bone) from your joint’s socket (glenoid).


What causes a shoulder dislocation?

Your shoulder can dislocate in several ways, including:

  • Forward and downward dislocation (anterior
    . These are the most common types of dislocations. They often
    result from falling on your outstretched hand or on your shoulder itself.
  • Backward dislocation (posterior
    This type of dislocation may be caused by a direct blow to the
    front of your shoulder, or the violent twisting of your upper arm.

Your shoulder can be either partly
or fully dislocated. Partial dislocation is when the head of your upper arm is partly
out of your shoulder socket. Complete dislocation is when the head of your upper arm is
completely out of your shoulder socket.

What are the symptoms of a shoulder dislocation?

Symptoms may be a bit different for
each person. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your upper arm and shoulder,
    which is often worse when you try to move them
  • Swelling
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Bruising
  • Deformity of your shoulder

The symptoms of a dislocated
shoulder may seem like other conditions or health problems. Always talk with your
healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is a shoulder dislocation diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will take
a full health history and give you a physical exam. Diagnostic tests often include an