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3 Types of Shoulder Dislocation and How They Are Treated

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the top of your humerus bone moves out of its socket, or shoulder joint. It is accompanied by severe pain, lack of motion, and a bump either in front or in the back of your shoulder. Almost all shoulder dislocations are related to trauma, and most seem to occur in young adults.

Anterior Dislocation

With an anterior dislocation, the arm is twisted and forced forward out of the socket. Being the most common type of shoulder dislocation, this injury accounts for 95% of all shoulder dislocations. 

Anterior dislocations mainly affect young people who participate in sports activities and older adults who fall on an outstretched arm.

Posterior Dislocation

In this case, the arm is displaced toward the back of the body. This is mainly caused by a seizure or an electrical shock. Posterior dislocations can also occur with a fall or a blow to the front of the shoulder.

Inferior Dislocation

In this type of rare shoulder dislocation, the humerus bone moves downward and out of its socket. It can occur from a trauma when an arm is pushed down with severe force. 

How Is a Shoulder Dislocation Treated?

dislocation of a shoulder joint

Once Dr. Samuel Koo diagnoses a shoulder dislocation, medications are given to ease the pain and relax the muscles. A treatment known as closed reduction is then performed, which carefully guides the head of the humerus back into its socket. Once the humerus is back in place, the pain caused by the dislocation stops almost immediately. 

The next part of the treatment includes the following steps:

  • Most patients rest in a sling for 1 to 4 weeks.
  • Ice may be applied 3 or 4 times a day to reduce swelling.
  • Physical therapy is an important addition to the treatment process so that patients can regain their normal strength and range of motion.

If the joint continues to be unstable or is loose, shoulder surgery may be required.

Most patients regain full use and function after a shoulder dislocation, but once someone experiences a dislocation, they are at a higher risk for another. Contact Dr. Samuel Koo if you have severe pain in your shoulder, especially after a sports injury. 

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (425) 823-4000 or make an appointment online today!

Call us at (425) 823-4000Call us at (425) 823-4000

COVID-19 Update

4/21/20 Update: Effective immediately, Dr. Koo is seeing patients through telehealth visits and in-person visits at our clinic. Call today to schedule your appointment!

Dr. Samuel Koo is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updated from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

To better serve you, Dr. Koo is now proud to offer virtual visits. With telehealth, you can meet with Dr. Koo from the comfort and safety of your own home. Please call our office today to learn more about this service or to schedule an appointment.

As of last Friday the governor of Washington state issued a declaration that all non-urgent or emergent surgical cases be postponed until the week of May 18th. For more information, please reach out to our office at (425) 823-4000.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control