Dislocated Shoulder Specialist

Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Jarrod R. Smith, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Orthopedic Surgeon located in Ashland, KY

As the most moveable joint in your body, the shoulder is also the most easy to dislocate. Orthopedic surgeon Jarrod R. Smith, MD, diagnoses and treats shoulder dislocations at his practice, Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, in Ashland, Kentucky. If you have a dislocated shoulder, call the office immediately to book an appointment.

Dislocated Shoulder Q & A

What is a dislocated shoulder?

The shoulder joint is where the round head of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. A dislocated shoulder occurs when your humerus pops out of place.

Because the shoulder is your body’s most mobile joint, it’s particularly susceptible to dislocations. Most of the time, people regain complete shoulder function within a few weeks of treatment. However, dislocating your shoulder once increases your risk of repeat dislocations and shoulder instability in the future.

What causes a shoulder dislocation?

Your shoulder can dislocate in various directions, including backward, forward, or downward. Dislocation may occur when a strong force, like a direct blow to your shoulder, pushes the bones out of place.

Common causes of shoulder dislocations include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls

Shoulder dislocations can be complete or partial. In serious cases, the injury may also involve damage to the ligaments or other soft tissues in the shoulder.

What are the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder?

Signs and symptoms of a dislocated shoulder depend on the severity of the injury, but often include:

  • Visible deformity
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Intense, immediate pain
  • Inability to move the shoulder

A dislocated shoulder may also cause numbness, tingling, or muscle spasms in the area surrounding your shoulder.

What should I do if I have a dislocated shoulder?

If you suspect your shoulder is dislocated, don’t try to move it back into place on your own. This can cause further damage to the surrounding ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.

Call Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine right away. While you wait for treatment, splint or sling your shoulder in its current position and apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.

How are dislocated shoulders treated?

First, Dr. Smith carefully examines your shoulder and takes an X-ray to assess the severity of your injury. Then, he develops a personalized treatment plan that may include:

  • Closed reduction to move your shoulder joint back into place
  • Surgery to treat recurrent shoulder dislocations
  • Immobilization with a splint or cast
  • Rehabilitation exercises

Most mild shoulder dislocations heal within a month, but resuming activity too soon may cause another dislocation. If you have a dislocated shoulder, call Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine right away.