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Help! I Dislocated My Shoulder

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The round end of your upper arm bone (humerus) nests inside the cupped socket of your shoulder blade, and it’s one of the most mobile joints in your body.

But the unique construction of your shoulder makes it more susceptible to injuries. A fall, hard blow, or overextension could force your arm out of the shoulder socket, resulting in a dislocated shoulder.

Dislocated shoulders can be intensely painful, but the orthopedic team at Manhattan Orthopedics offers customized solutions to treat shoulder pain and injuries like dislocation. The right care can relieve your pain and restore strength to your shoulder.

Signs of a dislocated shoulder

Most dislocated shoulders happen as the result of traumatic injury. Athletes (especially those who play contact sports) are at increased risk of shoulder dislocation, but this injury can happen to anyone. Other possible causes include a fall or car accident.

If you suffer a dislocated shoulder, you might experience symptoms like:

You may experience tingling or numbness that radiates up to your neck or down your arm. It’s not uncommon for shoulder muscles to spasm after dislocation, which may increase the intensity of your pain.

Relieving dislocated shoulder pain

Don’t ignore shoulder pain. If you think you’ve dislocated your shoulder, seek immediate medical care. Do your best to immobilize the joint while you’re waiting to see the doctor, and consider applying ice to your shoulder to minimize swelling.

At Manhattan Orthopedics, we perform an exam and take X-rays to determine the extent of your injury. There are three main types of shoulder dislocations, depending on how your arm bone was pushed from your shoulder socket.

Anterior dislocation makes up more than 95% of all shoulder dislocations, and it occurs when your arm bone is dislocated toward the front of your body. The other, less common, dislocations are posterior dislocation and inferior dislocation.

If this isn’t your first dislocated shoulder or your shoulder joints are unusually loose, you may be diagnosed with chronic shoulder instability.

Recovering from a dislocated shoulder

Depending on the complexity of your injury, we may be able to place your arm bone back into your shoulder at your appointment. This process is called closed reduction, and it can provide significant pain relief almost immediately.

We may prescribe pain medication to further reduce your pain as your shoulder heals. It’s important to rest your shoulder for several weeks after dislocation, so you may need to keep your arm in a sling.

Our team gives you at-home care instructions, which could include icing your shoulder up to 3-4 times each day until swelling begins to go down. As your body heals, you may be given rehabilitation exercises to restore strength and flexibility to the joint.

If your injury is severe, surgery may be necessary to repair ligaments or treat shoulder instability. We perform minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures to repair shoulder injuries in these cases.

Find prompt, professional care for your dislocated shoulder at Manhattan Orthopedics. Contact us online or call the office nearest you -- in Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn or Astoria in New York -- for an appointment.

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