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Dislocated Shoulder – How do I Identify it?

Dislocated Shoulder

by Premier Hospitals | October 1, 2018 |

Dislocated Shoulder - Sounds dangerous and painful, doesn’t it? Well, it could be. When we suffer a painful injury near our shoulder, or collide our shoulder into a hard surface, or if there is a strong sudden jerk on the arm, we run the risk of getting a dislocated shoulder.

What Is A Dislocated Shoulder?

Before we talk about a dislocated shoulder, we need to understand the basic structure of our shoulder joint.

Dislocated Shoulder

Understanding Our Shoulder Joint: The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. This means that one bone, called humerus, has a rounded top that fits into the socket-shaped ending of another bone, called scapula. This structure helps us to move our hand in various directions while the ring of muscles around the shoulder (Rotator Cuff) helps maintain strength and stability.

But nothing is immune to injury. Hence, if any outward force dislocates this joint partially or entirely, we call it a dislocated shoulder.

Identifying A Dislocated Shoulder

Any pain in the shoulder does not indicate a dislocated shoulder. But at the same time, you should not take any symptom lightly. Watch out for the following symptoms to recognize a dislocated shoulder:

Disclocated shoulder Symptoms
  • Severe Pain
    • Unbearable pain.
    • Pain when touched.
    • Patient refusing to move the arm due to pain.
    • Pain that spreads to lower arm and neck.
    • Loss of consciousness due to pain.
  • Visible Deformity
    • Loss of the shape of the shoulder.
    • Presence of an obvious depression over the shoulder joint.
    • Abnormal position of the arm.
    • Severe swelling or bruising.
  • Loss Of Function
    • Unable to move the arm.
    • Clicking and popping sound if moved.
    • Numbness in surrounding areas.

These basic symptoms of a dislocated shoulder can be accompanied by other symptoms like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light-headedness or loss of consciousness
  • Sweating and weakness
  • Muscle spasm

When Should You See A Doctor?

Doctor Checkup

Immediately. If you suspect a dislocated shoulder, see a doctor immediately. Medical treatments always yield the best results when injuries are brought to medical attention immediately. A dislocated shoulder, if not seen by a doctor immediately, may lead to further damage in nearby muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels. This may even result in the loss of total functionality of the shoulder, and sometimes the entire hand.

Please call your medical emergency helpline immediately or call a nearby ambulance service which can take you to an emergency care unit.

While waiting for medical care, limit your movement as much as possible. Do not attempt to relocate or fix the shoulder on your own. If you see any bleeding, use compressing padding to stop it. You can also use cold compresses over the injury, if available.

How Does A Doctor Identify A Dislocated Shoulder?

The medical care experts take a detailed history of how the accident has occurred. This gives them an idea of the extent of the damage. A doctor will check out the site of injury, check the pulse and test for sensation, to see if any damage to nerves and blood vessels is immediately noticeable.

A series of X-rays and other imaging techniques will follow. The reports of those will reveal the severity of the injury - the extent of displacement, any fracture, any damage to the muscles and other soft tissues.

A dislocated shoulder is caused accidentally. While we cannot prevent accidents, we can exercise caution so as to avoid it. Always be careful when you are on the road or playing a sport. Wear your safety gears as instructed.

Stay safe; stay healthy.

About The Hospital: Since the inception of Premier Hospital in 1991 till today, we have grown to unprecedented levels, due to our excellence in medical sciences and healthcare. Premier Hospital is the creation of Dr Mahesh Marda and when it was first established, was only a small, 30-bed hospital facility. Back then, we provided only secondary care to patients, but that certainly has changed in the present landscape.