Shoulder dislocation is one of the most common dislocated joints of the body. The upper arm bone of the body creeps out of the socket causing intense pain and fracture. The shoulder joint is the highly movable joint in the body making it more vulnerable to dislocate than other joints. More than 20% of the dislocated shoulder would cause fracture. Dislocated shoulder can cause swelling and pain making the joint immobile. Treatment is given in the form of closed reduction, surgery rehabilitation and complete immobilization of the joint. Once the shoulder joint gets dislocated there is every chance for repeated dislocation which can be prevented by using a regular sling.
Shoulder joint being the most flexible joint in the body is prone to repeated movements in many directions. This movement would make the joint gradually unstable leading to dislocation. Dislocation of shoulder can occur if the head portion of the humerus gets out of its socket. Since shoulder joint moves in many directions dislocation can happen at any point. More than 90% of dislocated shoulder is of anterior type indicating that the humerus head has come out of its socket in front portion. In rare cases the head moves backward from the joint.
Inferior dislocation is described as luxatio erecta and in case the humerus head dislocates getting stuck between the ribs it is known as intrathoracic dislocation. Young children and adolescents often develop a dislocated shoulder due to fall or injury. Adults and older people may get dislocation due to wear and tear of ligaments. Sports persons who throw a ball or hit it with head in high position and elbow bent fully may develop anterior dislocation if external force is applied on the bent elbow. Here the shoulder moves away from the body. Posterior dislocation can occur due to electrical injury or seizures.
Dislocated shoulder may show signs like intense pain over shoulder, swelling and deformed shoulder. Many people with dislocation may not be able to move the joint completely. Mild forms of dislocation can cause weakness or tingling sensation in the neck or arm. Some people may have nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness and extreme tiredness.
It is easy to detect dislocated shoulder during physical examination. Your doctor would confirm his diagnosis by X-ray report. To know the extent of damage or injury to the shoulder Magnetic Resonance Imaging test may be done.
Closed reduction is the first line therapy for dislocated shoulder. In this procedure, your doctor will give you a shot of muscle relaxant and gently move the shoulder bones to its normal position. The person can get quick relief from shoulder pain in this method. Surgery is the option for people with weak joint and ligaments on their shoulder. This is the only choice for people with recurrent dislocation and falls. After the surgery the patient should stay in the hospital for few days until the joint has gained enough strength.
For some people special device like splint is kept on the dislocated shoulder which helps in complete immobilization of the joint. Patient should follow the instructions of the doctor in wearing the splint or sling for recommended period. In both the case of surgery and fixing of sling muscle relaxant would be prescribed for quick healing of the joint. It is very much essential for the patient to refrain from any activity until the joint heals completely failing which recurrent dislocations can occur.
Follow Up Care :
The person should make up with his/her appointment with the surgeon after the process of closed reduction or surgery. He may order for few more X-rays to check the position of the joint again.
Dislocated shoulder can also be accompanied with fractures. There is a chance for nerve damage injuring the auxillary nerve.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Dislocated Shoulder :
Lifestyle Changes :
Follow the instructions of your surgeon/doctor to take complete rest. Do not life objects or make any vigorous movements of your shoulder joint. Apply ice packs on the shoulder joint will reduce pain and help in healing swelling. Heat therapy can also be effective in managing pain. After the surgery and rehabilitation, one should do gentle exercises with the help of therapist to reduce stiffness of joints.
Tips for Prevention :
- Shoulder dislocation can be prevented by taking little extra care while lifting heavy objects or playing sports. It is wise to wear shoulder gear while playing games repeatedly.
- Children should be taught to take caution while playing to avoid falls.
- Regular exercises can help in maintaining flexibility of joints.
- A person having dislocated shoulder is at risk of future dislocations. Hence one should do stability exercises regularly to prevent such future episodes.