Signs And Symptoms Of A Dislocated Shoulder

signs and symptoms of a dislocated shoulder

It’s a very common sight in any kind of contact sports–an injured player holds his upper arm and rolls on the field while paramedics rush to his aid. It’s most likely that the player has dislocated his shoulder, though it may not be the case all the time. But a dislocated shoulder happens very often in contact sports because the players fall on their arms or get their shoulders pulled while they rough it out on the field.

Why Shoulder All The Time?

The shoulder is one of the easiest joints to dislocate because the ball joint of the upper arm sits in a very shallow socket. Though this anatomical structure helps the arm to be very mobile and move in various directions,1 It also makes the arm unstable and easy to come out of its socket.


So What Is A Dislocated Shoulder?

You have dislocated your shoulder when the upper arm pops out of your shoulder. Ouch! You could dislocate it completely or partially. A partial dislocation, also called subluxation is when the head of the upper arm bone comes partially out of the socket while a complete dislocation is when it comes all the way out of the socket.2

A shoulder dislocation often happens when the arm is pulled and externally rotated with a strong force. This is often accompanied by an injury to the glenoid labrum which is a fibrocartilage ring around the cavity of the scapula. Then, it is called a Bankart Lesion. There could also be an injury to the head of the humerus termed a Hill-Sachs Lesion.3 Shoulder dislocation is most common among males, especially those involved in contact sports. There is a huge chance of the dislocation happening again if you have dislocated your shoulder as an adolescent because, in case of adolescents, there is most often a Bankart Lesion which makes another episode a possibility.4


Visibly Deformed Arm

You really don’t need an expert to tell you that you have dislocated your shoulder because it would be visible–the ball part of the joint would pop out in front of the shoulder socket. Your shoulder will also look more square than the normal round.

Lump In Front Of Your Shoulder

You will also locate a lump in front of your shoulder which is actually the ball part of your upper arm that has come off the shoulder.


Inability To Move Your Arm Accompanied By Severe Pain

You will certainly be in severe pain and the arm will become immobile till it is put back in its place.5

If you feel you have dislocated your shoulder, rush to a doctor. He would look for any injuries and will put it back in place in the best possible way. If there is an injury, it needs to be fixed immediately to avoid another episode.