What is the Diagnosis of Shoulder Dislocation?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 01, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • The upper arm bone pops out during shoulder dislocation.
  • Swelling or bruising in the area is a prominent symptom of dislocation.
  • The dislocation causes intense pain and inability to move the joint.
  • The dislocation can take place in any direction.

What is Shoulder Dislocation?

A condition in which the shoulder is injured causing the upper arm bone to pop out of the cup-shaped socket which is a part of the shoulder blade, is known as shoulder dislocation. Shoulder being the most mobile joint is more vulnerable to dislocation.
A quick medical attention must be taken if you suspect a shoulder dislocation. The lost shoulder function can be gained within few weeks. But, the joint may become unstable and can be more prone to repeated dislocations.

Shoulder Dislocation Diagnosis

What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Dislocation?

The signs and symptoms of a dislocated shoulder may include the following:

  • A visible deformed or out-of-place shoulder
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Intense pain
  • Inability to move the joint

The dislocation may also lead to numbness, weakness or tingling sensation near the injury like, in the neck or down on the arm. The muscles in the shoulder may spasm from the disruption which can increase the severity of the pain.

Shoulder Dislocation Diagnosis

What are the Causes of Shoulder Dislocation?

As the shoulder moves frequently in various directions, it can dislocate forward, backward or downward, completely or partially. In most cases the dislocation occurs through the front of shoulder though. A strong force or a sudden blow is needed to make the bones fall out of place. When the shoulder joint is rotated in extremely it can pop out the ball of the upper arm bone out of the shoulder socket. The dislocated may be caused by the following reasons:

  • Sports injury
  • Trauma unrelated to sports
  • Falls


Diagnosis of Shoulder Dislocation

A physical exam will be conducted by the doctor who will inspect the affected area. The area will be checked for tenderness, swelling or deformity. An x-ray will be conducted of the joint which will show the dislocation and will make the broken bones visible.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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