What Does a Dislocated Shoulder Feel Like?

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5min Read

The shoulder is one of most mobile joints in the body, but with this mobility comes vulnerability to dislocation. As orthopaedic doctors who specialise in treating upper extremity injuries, we see a lot of dislocated shoulders in our practice. These injuries are commonly seen in sportsmen and women who are at risk of falling on their shoulder, being hit on it or who are at risk of sudden and sharp twisting of the arm. Sports like hockey, rugby, soccer, mountain biking and rock climbing are especially prone to shoulder dislocations.

How Do I Know If I’ve Dislocated My Shoulder?

This typical sports injury will result in the top of your arm bone popping out of the shoulder socket. Physically speaking, a dislocated shoulder is fairly obvious and often self-diagnosable. Just looking at it you will be able to see that something’s off – it will be clearly out of place and you will notice a bump or protrusion around shoulder area. There will also be swelling or bruising.

But aside from physical indicators, what does a dislocated shoulder feel like? Well, it’s pretty severe, leaving the injured in excruciating pain at the slightest shrug of the shoulder.

The injured may also feel shoulder muscle spasms, which make their shoulder pain worse. Additionally, some describe their pain as moving up and down their arm or from their shoulder to neck.

What You Shouldn’t Do

The injured should never attempt to move their shoulder, as this could cause permanent damage to the joint. There are many nerves and tissues surrounding the shoulder, which could be damaged by movement during dislocation.

What You Should Do

If you suspect you have a dislocated shoulder, then it is crucial that you visit your closest emergency department (trauma unit) immediately – the sooner it is treated, the less chance of permanent damage occurring. The injured should also place an ice pack on the injured joint straight away.

With the care of orthopaedic specialists such as ourselves, you can expect a recovery period of a few weeks, but it is advisable to stop your chosen sport for a period determined by your specialist to allow the joint to fully recover.

Please get in touch with us if you need assistance with your shoulder injury. We are among the most reputable shoulder specialists in Durban and can give you our expert advice and guidance to help you restore mobility to you shoulder as soon as possible.

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