Dislocated Shoulder Causes and Symptoms

Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocated Shoulder Causes and Symptoms, TPL Orthopedics and Sports MedicineA dislocated shoulder is a traumatic and painful injury, typically caused due to a fall or during contact sports. In a dislocated shoulder condition, the upper arm bone will move away from its normal position along with damage to the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.

A shoulder dislocated requires prompt medical attention. A full rehabilitation program is essential if the athlete is to avoid re-injuring the shoulder. Profound, dedicated, and board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute provide treatments for dislocated shoulder to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding communities.


The patient will experience sudden severe pain at the time of injury. Bruising and swelling will develop later. The patient may feel the shoulder is popping out of the joint and the injured side will often look different or slightly lower than the other side. The patient will typically avoid moving or turning the arm outwards. If any nerve or blood vessel damage has occurred, the patient may experience a sensation of pins and needles, numbness or discoloration through the arm to the hand.


A dislocated shoulder is often caused by a fall onto an outstretched arm, twisting or impact to the shoulder. The dislocation takes place when the head of the humerus bone pops out of the shoulder joint.

They are usually either posterior where the head of the upper arm bone or humerus dislocates out of the back of the joint or more commonly anterior where it pops out forwards. The large range of movement available in the shoulder joint makes it particularly vulnerable to injury.


To protect the shoulder joint from further damage, once an injury occurs, the patient should not move the shoulder joint. If possible, the shoulder should be immobilized in a sling. Ice packs can be used to improve pain and swelling. Ice therapy can be repeated every hour initially.


Reduction is a form of treatment that involves putting the dislocated humerus bone back into the joint. Reduction should only be performed by a fully trained medical professional. The orthopedic surgeon may seek an x-ray before reduction to rule out any small fractures. For active adults below the age of 30, reduction can be a very effective solution for shoulder dislocation.


The shoulder is typically immobilized in a sling in medial rotation with the arm across the body until the tissues have healed. Mobility and strength of the shoulder will be restored after a comprehensive rehab process. The shoulder may be immobilized in a string for a week following a reduction. In case of severe tissue damage, the duration of immobilization may be longer.


If the shoulder dislocation recurs, or if the bones are fractured, the patient may require surgery. Surgery should ideally be performed as soon as possible after the injury. Several surgical techniques can be used to treat shoulder dislocation. The choice of technique will depend primarily on the patient’s lifestyle and activity.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide shoulder dislocation treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and other cities and towns in The Battle Born State.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

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