A dislocated shoulder is an injury in which your upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket that's part of your shoulder blade. The shoulder is the body's most mobile joint, which makes it susceptible to dislocation. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body and as a result is particularly susceptible to subluxation and dislocation. Radiographs are made to confirm the diagnosis. Most dislocations are apparent on radiographs showing incongruence of the glenohumeral joint.
Younger patients (teenagers and those aged 20 years) have a much higher frequency of redislocation than patients in their 50s and 60s. Many physicians believe that age is less of a predisposing risk factor for redislocation than activity level. Younger climbers often report a deep antero-superior shoulder pain which is mostly due to proximal biceps tendonitis in the sulcus bicipitis with a possible coexisting biceps tendon pulley lesion, a SLAP lesion (superior labrum antero-posterior lesion of the glenoid) or bursitis subacromialis.
The shoulder joint is the most frequently dislocated joint of the body. Because it moves in several directions, your shoulder can dislocate forward, backward or downward, completely or partially, though most dislocations occur through the front of the shoulder. In addition, fibrous tissue that joins the bones of your shoulder can be stretched or torn, often complicating the dislocation. Extreme rotation of your shoulder joint can pop the ball of your upper arm bone out of your shoulder socket. Symptoms may include a visibly deformed or out-of-place shoulder, swelling or bruising, intense pain and inability to move the joint.
Dislocated shoulder treatment may involve closed reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling, you may need a muscle relaxant or sedative or, rarely, a general anesthetic before manipulation of your shoulder bones. In rare cases, you may need surgery if your nerves or blood vessels are damaged. Special splint or sling which helps in immobilization of the injured part along with any pain reliever is suggested. After your shoulder splint or sling is removed, you'll begin a gradual rehabilitation program designed to restore range of motion, strength and stability to your shoulder joint.