Shoulder Dislocation Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain or a shoulder injury, learn how Dr. Jason Hurst or Dr. David Crawford and JIS Orthopedics can help you get back to living your life without limits. To schedule a consultation, click the button below!

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“I was examined about my left shoulder that needed replaced. Very informative and told me things my local orthopedic doctor never mentioned. After discussing the limitations with a replacement, we are just going to manage my pain until I retire and become less active. Very honest and up front with me. I appreciate that.” — Donald C.

Your shoulder is composed of a ball-and-socket joint, which allows you to perform a wide range of movements. Also called the glenohumeral joint, this joint has more range of motion than any other joint in your body. If you have dislocated your shoulder, this means that your upper arm bone (humerus) has moved out of the socket (glenoid). Today, we will go into further detail regarding the causes, signs and symptoms of shoulder dislocation, along with the effective methods used for treatment and recovery.

Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Shoulder Dislocation

There are several ways in which the shoulder can dislocate:

  • Forward and downward dislocation (Anterior). This type of dislocation is the most common, often resulting from a fall on your outstretched hand or on your shoulder itself.
  • Backward dislocation (Posterior). This may be caused by a direct blow to the front of the shoulder, or a violent twisting of your upper arm.

At JIS Orthopedics, we find that sports injuries are the leading cause of shoulder dislocation. This is most commonly seen in young athletes.

Additionally, there are two forms of shoulder dislocation: a partial dislocation (subluxation) and a complete dislocation- both of which result in pain and unsteadiness in the shoulder.

Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Extreme pain and/or weakness
  • Swelling
  • Numbness, tingling in the arm, hand, or fingers
  • Bruising/Redness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Shoulder visibly out of place 


During diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take a full health history and give you a physical exam. X-Rays are often a part of the diagnosis process.

Shoulder Dislocation Treatment

Treatment for a dislocated shoulder generally varies based on your symptoms, age, and general health. During treatment, your doctor will place the ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) back into the joint socket. This process is called a closed reduction. Severe pain stops almost immediately following this step. After this, it’s important to immobilize your arm with a sling. From there, you can begin the rehabilitation process.

Typically, surgery is not needed, especially if the shoulder was dislocated for the first time. However, if these methods don’t seem to be working, surgery may be needed to repair or tighten the torn or stretched ligaments that hold the joint in place.

Recurring cases of shoulder dislocation can result in bone damage to the humerus or shoulder socket. If your surgeon identifies bone damage during the process, he or she may recommend a bone transfer type of surgery.

Recovery / Healing

Once the pain and swelling in your shoulder decreases, your doctor will prescribe rehabilitation exercises for you. These exercises help restore the shoulder’s range of motion and strengthen the muscles. The process beings with gentle muscle toning exercises, with the addition of weight over time. Furthermore, rehabilitation can help prevent dislocation of the shoulder down the road.

At JIS Orthopedics, we find that most shoulder dislocations take 6-8 weeks to recover from. In milder cases, the shoulder can be back to normal within 2-4 weeks. It is important to make sure you are checking regularly with your orthopedist to ensure you are on a healthy road to recovery.

JIS Orthopedics can diagnose and treat your injury, and help you recover

Do you think you may have a dislocated shoulder? JIS Orthopedics is here to help. Give us a call today and begin your road to recovery with us!



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