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How is a Dislocated Shoulder Fixed?

The shoulder joint is very susceptible to dislocation because it has the most excellent range of motion of all the joints in the body. Shoulders are most often moved by strong force or extremely rotated, e.g. hard hit during contact sports, motor vehicle accidents or falls.

A dislocated shoulder arm occurs when enough force is exerted on the arm then the ball gets out from the socket as the shoulder is the ball and socket joint. If your shoulder slips, you are most likely to feel severe pain, your shoulder may look unusual, and it may be challenging to move your arm/shoulder.

Dislocated shoulders should be treated by the doctor as soon as possible. Shoulder dislocation causes tearing of the main architectural elements that stabilize the joint. Repairing these elements, including labrum, ligaments and capsules, usually resolves the problem of instability.

The best way to fix a dislocated shoulder is to go to the emergency room or to see a doctor or a shoulder surgeon. Therefore you should consult with a specialist, and not do it yourself. This article provided by Dr Chandrasekhar.B will help you to know what is involved in fixing a dislocated shoulder. Before that, let us see in detail about shoulder dislocation.

What is a Dislocated Shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the shoulder ball comes out of the socket. The socket bone is quite shallow, which allows mobility. With a shallow socket, the shoulders need additional support to hold the ball and the socket together. The stability of the shoulder joint depends on the structure of the surrounding soft tissue (labrum, ligaments, tendons, and muscles). When a shoulder dislocation occurs, the surrounding soft tissue is injured or damaged.

Ball and socket joint instability can be categorized as partial or whole, depending on whether the ball is partially or completely out of the socket. A partial dislocation is also called a subluxation.

What causes a shoulder dislocation?

  • Sports injuries
  • Trauma, blow on the shoulder
  • Fall on your shoulders or outstretched arms
  • Convulsions
  • Electric shock
  • Repeated sports activities such as swimming, baseball and tennis.

What are the symptoms of a shoulder dislocation?

  • Visible deformation – the shoulder looks out of place.
  • Severe pain with the possibility of spasms
  • It’s impossible to move the shoulder joint.
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling near the shoulder or arm

Do you need immediate medical treatment for your shoulder?

Yes, if you dislocate your shoulder, you should immediately see a doctor. An X-ray can be useful for confirming the diagnosis and examining fractures.

During a physical examination, your doctor will examine the affected area for sensitivity, swelling, or deformity. An x-ray of your shoulder joint shows dislocation and can reveal broken bones or other damage to your shoulder joint.

How to Fix a Dislocated Shoulder?

Shoulder dislocations treatment is always carried out by trained doctors, even though there may be unusual (urgent) circumstances where you might need to try doing it yourself. Incorrect rearrangement of the arm may require surgery to lift it properly.

Dislocated shoulder treatment may involve:
Non-surgical treatment:

Non-surgical treatment consists of an initial resting period followed by rehabilitation to restore range of movement, strength and stability of the shoulder. MRI may be needed to examine tears in the labrum, ligaments or tendons of the shoulder that surround the ball and socket joint. Tears in these surrounding structures can cause repetitive sprains and weakness in the shoulder and prevent shoulder use. Shoulder surgery may be needed to repair a labrum, ligament, or torn tendon.

  • Rest your shoulder: Don’t repeat specific actions that cause dislocation of your shoulder and try to avoid painful movements. Limit heavy lifting or overhead activity until your shoulders feel better.
  • Apply ice then heat: When you put ice on your shoulder, inflammation and pain decrease. Use a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a towel filled with ice cubes for 15 to 20 minutes each. Do this every few hours for the first or second day.
    After two or three days, when the pain and inflammation have improved, a hot pack or heating pad can help relax tense and inflamed muscles. Limit each heat application to 20 minutes.
  • Closed reduction: Your doctor may try some gentle manoeuvres to help your shoulder bones return to their correct position. Depending on the severity of pain and swelling, you may need muscle relaxants, or rarely general anaesthesia, before manipulating the humerus. When the shoulder bone returns to its place, intense pain will improve soon.
  • Immobilization: Your doctor may use a special splint or sling for several days to three weeks to prevent your shoulder from moving. How long you wear a brace or sling depends on the type of shoulder dislocation and how quickly the splint is applied after a dislocation.
  • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe analgesics or muscle relaxants to make you feel comfortable when your shoulders heal.
  • Rehabilitation: After removing a splint or shoulder sling, begin a step-by-step rehabilitation program to restore range of movement, strength, and stability of the shoulder joint.
  • Maintain range of movement on your shoulders:After one or two days, do some gentle exercises as directed by your doctor or physiotherapist to maintain range of movement on your shoulders. Inactivity can cause stiff joints. If you keep your shoulder unmovable for a long time, it can cause the frozen shoulder which makes your shoulder so hard that you can barely move it.

If you have relatively simple shoulder dislocations without large nerve or tissue damage, your shoulder joint will likely improve in a few weeks. Still, you have an increased risk of future dislocation. Resuming activities too quickly after dislocation of the shoulder can cause shoulder injury or displacement.


The doctor will consider and decide whether the injury should be treated with surgery or not. Shoulder dislocation is treated with surgery if non-surgical treatment fails and if a repair is needed to a labrum, ligament, or torn tendon. A doctor puts the ball in the socket back with manual manipulation. The shoulder is moved back to the correct position, which reduces severe human pain. This process is generally done with mild to moderate sedation. After the shoulder is rearranged, a sling is placed, and an x-ray is taken to ensure that the shoulder is in the correct position.

You may need surgery if you have weak shoulders or ligaments that are prone to recurrent shoulder dislocations despite adequate strengthening and rehabilitation. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary if your nerves or blood vessels are damaged. Today surgery can be done arthroscopically. The arthroscopic treatment has many advantages over its alternatives open shoulder surgery, including smaller wounds, less soft tissue trauma, less pain, and faster and more comfortable recovery.

After your injury has healed and you have a range of movement on your shoulders, continue to exercise. Daily shoulder stretches and shoulder strengthening and stability programs can help prevent shoulder dislocation. Your doctor or physiotherapist can help you plan an appropriate exercise.


Tears around the soft tissue structure make the shoulder more vulnerable to future dislocations. Repeated dislocation causes further shoulder damage. To prevent a recurrence, consult a doctor who can help you determine the best treatment for your injury.

Make sure you make a follow-up appointment with a doctor to discuss the risks of repeated dislocation and how to prevent it. For best treatment, visit Dr Chandra Sekhar, Shoulder Surgeon at Hyderabad, contact us at 91 9959588389 to book your appointment.

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