Dislocated Shoulder – The Causes You Must Know

Dislocations are painful, and they could occur due to multiple causes. Such conditions make it difficult for the person to use the dislocated part of the body. In simpler terms, dislocation is a condition in which any of the bone forming the joint slips out of its place. Any of the joints in our body could get dislocated, and one of the commonest locations is the shoulder joint.

This post will focus more on discussing dislocations in the shoulder along with their prime causes and methods of treatment.

Shoulder dislocation is a debilitating injury that occurs when the upper arm bone slips out of its socket formed by the shoulder blade. Severe cases of this condition may require surgery using Orthopedic Implant & Instruments.

What is Dislocated Shoulder?

Our shoulder joint is formed by three bones namely the collarbone, humerus, and shoulder blade (scapula). This joint is known as the most mobile joint of our body that is known to perform various movements in different directions. The shoulder joint is a type of “ball and socket joint” just like the hip joint. Here, the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) fits into the socket formed by the shoulder blade. So, the humeral head serves as the ball and the scapula forms the socket to fit in the ball.

Now, when shoulder dislocation occurs, the humeral head slips out of its place, and that means the upper part of the upper arm bone comes out of its socket. Based on the cause, the head of the humerus either gets displaced partially or completely. A dislocated shoulder could be a serious injury, especially when the medical attention is delayed. Another fact about this condition is that people who suffered once from shoulder dislocation are also susceptible to experiencing it again. Many causes of this condition are there, let us talk about that in detail.

What Are the Causes of Shoulder Dislocation?

A sudden and serious impact on the shoulder results in dislocation, and there are multiple causes for that. Athletes engaged in contact sports are highly prone to shoulder dislocations as they keep performing rigorous body movements during the match. Other causes of the condition are also there, and they include:

Sports Injuries

Shoulder dislocations are common in sportspeople, especially those who play contact sports like rugby, football, soccer, hockey, and wrestling. While playing such sports, players often collide with each other and fall on the field with a high impact. This may cause dislocation of the humeral head.

Traumatic Injuries

Besides sports injuries, other traumatic injuries that are not related to sports could also be the reason for shoulder dislocations. Car crashes, bike accidents, or a direct impact on the shoulder against a solid object may dislocate your shoulder.


Falling directly on the shoulder or with an outstretched arm may result in shoulder dislocation. Such a cause is common in the elderly and teens or with weak bones.


It is often noticed that some people are born with loose ligaments, and that is due to hereditary issues. In such people, dislocations occur more easily than they are seen in others.

How Are Shoulder Dislocations Treated?

The treatment of the condition will depend upon the diagnosis, as this will ensure how severe the dislocation is and its type. Most cases of shoulder dislocation are not known to require surgery as closed reduction followed by the application of a splint or a sling is enough. During closed reduction, the surgeon will give anesthesia and realign the dislocated bone into its original place before applying the splint to immobilize the joint. After a week or two, your healthcare service provider will recommend a rehabilitation program to strengthen the muscles and improve the flexibility of the joint. This also reduces the chances of dislocations in the future.

While on the other hand, if the dislocation is characterized by broken bones and/or torn ligaments, surgery will be required using orthopedic implants to stabilize the broken bone fragments. Rehabilitation is also required after surgery.
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