A dislocated shoulder occurs when the humerus separates from the scapula at the glenohumeral joint.
Diagnosis and Treatment: A diagnosis of shoulder dislocation is often suspected based on patient history and physical examination. Radiographs are made to confirm the diagnosis. Most dislocations are apparent on radiographs showing incongruence of the glenohumeral joint. Posterior dislocations may be hard to detect on standard AP radiographs, but are more readily detected on other views.
Treatment: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), will help with pain and swelling. In the acute phase of a dislocated shoulder, therapy should be limited. The arm should be immobilized in a sling and swathed for 1-3 weeks.