Shoulder Dislocation: Signs, Treatment, and Prevention


Understanding Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone (humerus) pops out of the shoulder blade’s cup-shaped socket (glenoid). This condition can result in pain and instability in the shoulder.

Types of Dislocated Shoulders

  1. Anterior Dislocation: The most common type, where the humerus moves forward in front of the joint.
  2. Posterior Dislocation: Occurs when the humerus moves backwards towards the shoulder blade.
  3. Inferior Dislocation: A rare type where the humerus moves downwards.

Symptoms and Causes of Shoulder Dislocation

Symptoms of Dislocated Shoulder:

  • Intense shoulder pain
  • Visible deformation or abnormality in the shoulder area
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Inability to move the joint
  • Occasional numbness or tingling near the injury, mainly down the arm


  • Falls or impacts, such as during sports or from a height
  • Direct blows to the shoulder
  • Violent or sudden rotation of the shoulder

Risk Factors:

  • Participating in high-impact sports like rugby or football
  • Previous shoulder dislocations
  • Weak shoulder muscles or ligaments
  • Genetic predisposition to joint looseness

Diagnosis & Tests for Shoulder Dislocation

  • Diagnosis: A physical examination will often suffice to diagnose a shoulder dislocation, but your doctor will also consider your medical history and the specifics of the injury.


    • X-rays: Confirm the dislocation and check for any associated fractures.
    • MRI: Provides detailed images of soft tissues to assess damage to ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
    • CT Scan: Occasionally used to evaluate the extent of the shoulder injury.

Shoulder Dislocation Treatment

  • Nonsurgical Treatment:

    • Reduction: A procedure where your doctor manually pushes the shoulder back into place.
    • Immobilization: Wearing a sling or specific brace for a few weeks to keep the shoulder from moving.
    • Medication: Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to manage pain and swelling.
    • Physical Therapy: Strengthening exercises and mobility training to restore function and prevent future dislocations.

    Surgical Treatment:

    • Surgery may be required for severe dislocations or in cases where nonsurgical treatment does not resolve the instability. Procedures can vary from minimally invasive arthroscopy to more extensive surgery to repair torn tissues or correct bone deformities.


    • Strength Training: Strengthening shoulder muscles to support the joint.
    • Avoid Risky Activities: Modify activities to prevent high-risk situations.
    • Proper Techniques: Using proper techniques in sports and physical activities.


Recovery can vary widely depending on the severity of the dislocation and the treatment method, ranging from a few weeks to several months.
While the pain may subside on its own, proper medical treatment is crucial to prevent recurrent dislocations and ensure proper healing.
Not always. Surgery is typically reserved for cases of recurring dislocations or significant tissue damage.
Avoid activities that involve overhead movements, heavy lifting, or anything that could strain the shoulder until your doctor clears you.

Connect With Us Today!

Shoulder dislocation can be debilitating, but recovery is within reach with proper guidance and treatment. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, don’t wait. Reach out to the SBF Sports & Hand Centre at +65 6282 2611 and let our team of specialists help you return to the activities you cherish.

Remember, there’s always a solution. And at SBF Sports and Hand Centre, we are determined to find it for you.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only. Always seek professional medical advice for any health-related concerns.