A dislocated shoulder happens when enough force is applied to the arm that the ball dislocates from the socket. If you’ve dislocated your shoulder, you’re likely feeling a lot of pain, your shoulder may appear abnormal, and it’s likely difficult to move your arm/shoulder.
The best way to fix a dislocated shoulder is to visit the emergency room or a healthcare professional such as an upper extremity surgeon. Here’s why you should visit a professional rather than doing it yourself:
- A proper diagnosis is important. Your shoulder may have dislocated out of the front, back or near the armpit. Determining the direction will help lead your treatment.
- You may have a fracture. A doctor will take an x-ray to determine if you’ve broken a bone.
- Your pain can be managed. Because the process of putting the shoulder back in place can be extremely painful, a doctor may use sedation or an anesthetic medication to make you more comfortable.
The process of putting the joint back in place (reduction) is performed by pulling the arm in a specific direction, based on the type of dislocation. Most times, surgery is not needed to fix a shoulder dislocations. Surgery is mostly needed for repeat shoulder dislocations or for injuries that happened alongside the dislocation.
Recovery after a shoulder dislocation can involve a variety of symptoms. You may feel numb for several days or even weeks, and you may be in a sling for 4-6 weeks to improve comfort. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to make sure you can move your shoulder normally once fully recovered. Usually, you can use your shoulder normally again within a few months.
Be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss your risk of re-location and how to prevent it. Visit www.findahandsurgeon.com to find an upper extremity specialist near you.