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The shoulder joint allows the arm to rotate 180 degrees, an incredible feat for a joint. However, a larger range of motion comes with some drawbacks, including easier dislocation. The flexibility of the ball-and-socket shoulder joint can result in partial or complete shoulder dislocation. Our orthopedic physicians and surgeons at DOCS Health offer advanced shoulder dislocation treatment at our Los Angeles medical center.

Causes and Symptoms of Shoulder Dislocation

The shoulder glenohumeral joint can become dislocated in a variety of ways. The ball of the humerus, or upper arm bone, can be forced out of the glenoid, or socket, backward, forward or downward. Any direct impact to the shoulder can cause a dislocation, and this can occur in contact sports, vehicle accidents and other trauma. Other causes include using excessive force when performing a throwing motion or landing on an outstretched arm in a fall. The ball of the humerus can come partially or completely out of the socket.

When a shoulder dislocation injury occurs, the rotator cuff tendons and muscles can be stretched or torn. The labrum and cartilage in the shoulder joint can rip or sustain damage. This combination of injuries during a shoulder joint dislocation can result in the following symptoms:

  • Intense pain
  • Deformity of the shoulder
  • Bruised and swollen shoulder
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness in arm, hand or fingers due to nerve damage

In most cases, the shoulder joint bones can be realigned with a closed reduction by a physician. However, even after the ball is returned to the socket, there can still be pain and functional issues. Most patients will need to have their arm in a sling or other immobilization device for a few weeks to allow the damaged tissues to heal. Physical therapy for rehabilitation can strengthen the muscles and tendons.

Surgery is not usually required for shoulder dislocations but may be needed if there are severe or complete tears to the rotator cuff or labrum.

If you suffer a shoulder dislocation, treatment is available at DOCS Health. Contact us at our orthopedic clinic in Los Angeles to schedule an exam and shoulder dislocation treatment consultation.