Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder Dislocation Overview

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the shoulder pops out of the socket. Immediate medical attention may be needed to put the shoulder back in place in some cases. In others, the shoulder may easily put itself back in place. Regardless, an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) shoulder specialist should be made after a shoulder dislocation. Delaying a diagnosis and treatment greatly increases the chances of another dislocation.

Symptoms & Causes

Shoulder dislocation symptoms include:

  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Visible deformity
  • Weakness

Common shoulder dislocation causes include:

  • Contact sports injuries
  • Extreme sports injuries
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents

Common Treatments:

  • A closed reduction procedure may be needed to put the shoulder back in place. A CONA specialist carefully manipulates the joint and the shoulder bone slides back into the socket.
  • Physical therapy may be used to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder so another dislocation does not occur.
  • Surgery may be recommended to treat serious shoulder joint injuries, like a rotator cuff or glenoid labrum tear. CONA shoulder specialists perform minimally invasive shoulder surgery so patients experience minimal pain and recovery quickly.


A CONA specialist:

  • Asks questions to find out how the injury occurred
  • Listens as the patient explains their symptoms
  • Performs a complete shoulder examination
  • Orders x-rays and an MRI

The findings allow the specialist to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.

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