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Care for a Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocation of the shoulder occurs when the ball of the upper arm bone (the humerus) moves out of its normal place in the shoulder socket. The shoulder is the most commonly dislocated joint in the body and can be partial (slightly out of place) or complete (completely separated). 

Shoulder dislocations require emergency treatment to restore the joint and prevent further damage. If you or are with someone who has a dislocated shoulder in the Bay Area, call 9-1-1.

Dislocated Shoulder Symptoms

Common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Bruising
  • Instability of the shoulder
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness and weakness in the arm and hands
  • Severe pain
  • Shoulder deformity
  • Swelling

Causes of a Dislocated Shoulder

Trauma is the most common cause of a dislocated shoulder. This involves a blunt force injury to the shoulder and forceful twisting of the shoulder joint. Contact sports injuries, direct blows, and falls are common incidents resulting in shoulder dislocation.

Dislocated Shoulder Treatment in the Bay Area

Treatment for shoulder dislocations restores the correct position of the joint. Our Dignity Health doctors put the shoulder joint back in place using a reduction maneuver, or slowly and gently guiding the bones back into position. To keep you comfortable during the procedure, you will be given a sedative and pain medicine.

If ligaments have been damaged during the dislocation, surgery is sometimes necessary to realign the shoulder joint. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if the dislocation keeps occurring. Once your shoulder is back in its normal position, your doctor will immobilize it with a sling or a brace. 

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve your range of motion. Dignity Health offers physical therapy in the Bay Area at all four of our hospitals — Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.

To learn more about our trusted orthopedic services for shoulder injuries and conditions, Find a Doctor or call (844) 560-2508 for a referral today.

Dignity Health offers complete orthopedic care for dislocated shoulders in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.