A dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm bone pops fully or partially out of the cup-shaped glenoid socket. A dislocation can occur anteriorly, posteriorly, or even downward. Dislocations may occur partially, known as a subluxation.
A dislocated shoulder may be caused by a strong, wrenching upward and backward force, pulling the upper arm bone out of place and out of the shoulder socket. The force is often that of a fall or a collision with another person or object (both of which can occur during many sports) or a sudden trauma, such as in an auto accident.
Some the most common symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include but are not limited to: extreme pain, inflammation and bruising, abnormal appearance and an inability to move the joint itself.
A dislocated shoulder can be treated with physical therapy, to increase stability and strengthen the joint, and to prevent future dislocations or separations.
If physical therapy is not successful, surgery can be required in order to tighten or reconstruct the capsule responsible for keeping the shoulder in place.