What is a shoulder dislocation?
A traumatic shoulder dislocation occurs during a specific injury or accident when the upper arm (humerus) is forced out of the shoulder joint. This may cause damage to the ligaments, muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and a portion of the ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid) bones. A fracture to the ball or socket may occur with the injury as well.
What causes a traumatic dislocation?
Shoulder dislocations can occur from repetitive trauma, an injury or accident. Dislocations occur when the shoulder is forced out of place from falls or sports injuries.
What are the symptoms of a traumatic shoulder dislocation?
A shoulder dislocation may cause extreme sharp pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and difficulty moving the arm. The shoulder may also feel and visibly appear to be out of place.
What is the treatment of a shoulder dislocation?
To confirm the severity of the dislocation, X-rays may be ordered by a healthcare professional. It is important to immobilize the shoulder after the dislocation. Therapy may also be started after a brief period of immobilization. If dislocation occurs regularly and pain affects daily function, surgery may be recommended.
What can a hand therapist do for me?
A hand therapist/upper extremity specialist is important in the treatment of a traumatic shoulder dislocation. Each traumatic shoulder dislocation is different and will require a thorough evaluation to determine the best treatment approach. Therapy will focus on protecting the shoulder, decreasing pain and improving motion through the use of activities, exercises and work- or sports-specific tasks. A hand therapist will also work closely with the physician and patient to improve shoulder function.