- Take the Pain Quiz
- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Chronic Pain Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Dislocated Shoulder - Cause
- Patient Comments: Dislocated Shoulder - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Dislocated Shoulder - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Dislocated Shoulder - Complications
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
- Shoulder dislocation facts
- What is dislocation of the shoulder? What causes a shoulder dislocation?
- What are risk factors for a dislocated shoulder?
- What types of doctors treat a dislocated shoulder?
- What are the symptoms and signs of a dislocated shoulder?
- How do physicians diagnose dislocated shoulders?
- What are home remedies for a dislocated shoulder?
- What is the treatment for a dislocated shoulder?
- What happens after reduction of a shoulder dislocation?
- What is appropriate follow-up following a shoulder dislocation? How long is the recovery time for a dislocated shoulder?
- What are potential complications of a shoulder dislocation?
- What is the prognosis of a shoulder dislocation?
- Is it possible to prevent a dislocated shoulder?
What are the symptoms and signs of a dislocated shoulder?
Dislocations hurt. When the humerus is forcibly pulled out of the socket, cartilage, muscle, and other tissues are stretched and torn. Shoulder dislocations present with significant pain, and the patient will often refuse to move the arm in any direction. The muscles that surround the shoulder joint tend to go into spasm, making any movements very painful. Usually, with anterior dislocations, the arm is held slightly away from the body, and the patient tries to relieve the pain by supporting the weight of the injured arm with the other hand. Often, the shoulder appears squared off since the humeral head has been moved out its normal place in the glenoid fossa. Sometimes, it may be seen or felt as a bulge in front of the shoulder joint.
As with other bony injuries, the pain may provoke systemic symptoms of nausea and vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness, and weakness. These occur because of the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which blocks the adrenaline response in the body. Occasionally, this may cause the patient to faint or pass out (vasovagal syncope).