What are the Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder and Shoulder Instability?
Various symptoms are associated with shoulder dislocation and instability, including:
- Severe shoulder pain
- Limited range of motion
- Arm numbness
- Shoulder weakness
- “Popping” sensation
- Muscle spasm
- Swelling, discoloration and bruising
How are a Dislocated Shoulder and Shoulder Instability Diagnosed?
Prompt medical care at a local ER should be sought if a patient experiences a dislocated shoulder. Emergency care is critical to place the shoulder back into its normal position, known as reduction. Trained medical professionals may utilize several methods to manually manipulate the injured shoulder in order to place the ball back into its socket.
Dr. Yau will complete medical review and physical examination once the affected shoulder is reduced. A series of x-rays and shoulder MRI may be performed to determine the extent of injury. These diagnostic tests will help Dr. Yau determine the likelihood of developing recurrent shoulder instability.
What is the Treatment for a Dislocated Shoulder and Shoulder Instability?
Dr. Yau will determine the proper treatment plan based on extent of injury, number of previous dislocations, patient’s age and patient’s activity level.
After the dislocated shoulder is reduced, Dr. Yau typically prescribes rest, ice and arm immobilization for several weeks as the soft structures heal. A detailed physical therapy program usually begins after the dislocation to restore range of motion and strengthen to the shoulder.
In cases where a dislocated shoulder leads to ongoing instability, Dr. Yau will recommend an AC joint surgical repair to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments, capsule and labrum. This arthroscopic procedure is highly successful in restoring shoulder stability in most patients. An open surgical procedure may be recommended in cases of severe instability, bone loss, failed arthroscopic surgery or a locked dislocation that cannot be manually reduced.
For additional resources on a dislocated shoulder and shoulder instability, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic shoulder specialist in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area.