Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocated Shoulder Symptoms and Treatment

What is a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the shoulder joint comes partially or completely separated from the socket it sits in. A shoulder can dislocate backward, forward, or downward. Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Pain in the shoulder and occasionally down the arm
  • Inability to move the affected shoulder
  • Bruising, swelling, and tenderness
  • Visible deformity of the area

What causes a dislocated shoulder?

dislocated-shoulder-300x205A hard, direct blow like those commonly sustained in car accidents can cause a dislocated shoulder. Since the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints of the body, it is also one of the most frequently dislocated.

How is a dislocated shoulder diagnosed?

Your doctor will first ask you questions about your accident and physically examine your shoulder. He may then send you for a shoulder x-ray or an on-site MRI to confirm the diagnosis.

How do you treat a dislocated shoulder?

Your doctor may employ a method called closed reduction to attempt to maneuver your shoulder joint back into the socket. If you are experiencing a large amount of pain and swelling, you may be given pain management medication or (in very severe cases) general anesthesia for comfort. Once your shoulder is back in place, pain will begin to improve immediately. For those with weak shoulders or frequent shoulder dislocations, surgery may be necessary.

What is the recovery time for a dislocated shoulder?

Depending on the severity of your dislocation, your doctor may immobilize the area with a sling for a few weeks. You will also undergo shoulder physical therapy to prevent re-injury to the area. Full recovery can take anywhere from three to 12 weeks.

If you’ve been in a car accident in New Jersey and need treatment for a dislocated shoulder, please call us at 866-609-4448 or fill out our quick contact form for a FREE consultation.