What is a Shoulder Dislocation?

The shoulder joint, one of the most versatile joints in the human body, is also extremely vulnerable to injury. In fact, the shoulder joint is the most frequently dislocated joint. Shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) is pushed out of the glenoid fossa (shoulder socket). This injury almost always requires immediate medical attention to ensure prompt care and healing.


Shoulder dislocation is most often caused by sudden and unexpected trauma, including:

  • A fall, especially on a hard surface
  • A hard hit or direct blow to the shoulder
  • Trying to break a fall with your hand
  • A sharp twisting of the arm

Participating in certain activities raises your risk of experiencing a dislocated shoulder. These activities generally include:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Rock climbing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Skiing
  • Volleyball

Many other contact sports and physical activities can also heighten your chance of sustaining a dislocation.


Depending on the manner in which the bone has been dislocated, a dislocated shoulder may involve a deformation of the shoulder, such as a notable bump in the front or back. Pain in the shoulder and upper arm are also common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder and will likely worsen with movement. Sometimes patients may even encounter muscle spasms.

Additionally, cartilage, muscle and tissues may have been strained or torn during the time of injury. This will cause increased pain and discomfort and may lead to secondary complications if not addressed right away.

The OrthoCARE Treatment Approach

If you believe you are suffering from a dislocated shoulder, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Doing so can ensure that the injury heals properly and may prevent chronic conditions, such as loose shoulder, an ailment where stretched tissues allow dislocations to regularly occur.

At OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, we are dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centric care for your dislocated shoulder. Your health and wellbeing are the top priorities for our orthopedic specialists, from your diagnosis through the creation and implementation of a personalized treatment plan.

Dislocated shoulders must be cared for immediately, as the shoulder joint will continue to swell and become painful until it is repaired. When you visit an orthopedic surgeon for a dislocated shoulder, they will carefully and safely move the arm bone back into the shoulder socket. Usually, this step reduces much of the pain experienced by the patient. Conservative treatments such as hot/cold care, a sling, anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy can help a dislocated shoulder heal most effectively after being reset.

If your dislocation was severe and conservative treatments do not satisfactorily reduce the risk of future complications, minimally invasive surgery may be recommended.

Minimally invasive surgery uses tiny incisions to provide many benefits over traditional surgery, including:

  • Shorter hospital stays and recovery times
  • Minimal risk of scarring
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Lessened chance of trauma to surrounding tissues

To learn more about dislocated shoulder treatment, OrthoCARE Institute or minimally invasive surgery, call us directly at 972-255-5588 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to answering any questions you may have and helping you get back the quality of life that you deserve!

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