A shoulder dislocation is when the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) moves out of the shoulder socket. There are two types:
- Partial dislocation—the head of the humerus slips out of the socket for a short time and then snaps back into place
- Full dislocation—the head of the humerus comes fully out of the socket
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It may take 12 to 16 weeks to heal. The goals of treatment are to put the shoulder back into place and to manage symptoms.
The doctor will move the head of the humerus back into the shoulder socket. Other treatment may include:
- Medicine to ease pain and swelling
- Supportive care, such as resting the area and using cold or warm compresses
- A sling or shoulder immobilizer to keep the shoulder in place as it heals
- Physical therapy to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion
Surgery is rarely needed when this problem happens the first time. It may be needed in a person whose shoulder repeatedly dislocates.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Dislocated Shoulder; Glenohumeral Dislocation)
Ortho Info— American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org
Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
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