What Is Shoulder Dislocation?
Shoulder Dislocation is an extremely painfully condition in which the shoulder joint pops out of its normal anatomical position as a result of some injury or a direct trauma to the shoulder usually while playing contact sports like football, hockey, or rugby. An individual can also dislocate the shoulder after a bad fall on to the shoulder. A shoulder Dislocation tends to cause the ligament structures that bind it together to stretch excessively thus damaging these structures.
In some cases, Dislocated Shoulder can also nerve damage which may produce additional symptoms or numbness, tingling, and paresthesias radiating down the arm. Additionally, the dislocated shoulder will look visibly out of place when compared to the opposite uninjured shoulder. There will be also associated discoloration of the skin along with bruising. There will be severe pain with any attempts at moving the shoulder in any direction and the affected individual would prefer to keep the hand close to the body. In majority of the cases the shoulder dislocates anteriorly but in extremely rare cases there is also posterior Shoulder Dislocation.
Can You Partially Dislocate The Shoulder?
The answer to this question is yes. There can be partial dislocation of the shoulder. The condition in which there is partial dislocation of the shoulder is called as shoulder subluxation. This occurs when the shoulder joints just partially pops out from its normal anatomical position and there is not much stretch of the surrounding ligamentous structures as a result of partial dislocation of the shoulder.
The primary presenting feature of a Partial Shoulder Dislocation is a feeling that the arm has no sensation at all and has pain or discomfort with any attempts at movement of the shoulder. The pain that is experienced by an individual with partially dislocated shoulder may not be that much high in intensity but is severe enough to prevent that individual to carry out activities of daily living with ease.
Majority of cases of partial dislocation of the shoulder is anterior in nature where the shoulder pops out in front of the joint, although posterior dislocations can also occur in some rare cases.
There have been cases where the shoulder has a tendency to dislocate in any direction. This is what is called multidirectional instability. There may be many causes that may lead to partial dislocation of the shoulder. These causes are direct trauma or blow to the shoulder as a result of a fall or an injury while playing contact sports like football, soccer, and rugby.
A shoulder may have partial dislocation as a result of an aggravation of a previous injury to the shoulder which may have caused the joint capsule to become weak causing instability. This condition is also called as posttraumatic instability.
In some cases as a result of certain anatomical abnormalities there may be instability of the shoulder causing partial dislocation. In some cases, a joint which is already weak enough and unstable gets injured then it may lead to partial shoulder dislocation.
How Is Partially Dislocated Shoulder Treated?
Once a Partial Shoulder Dislocation is confirmed then the treating physician will first take a detailed history of the patient to identify the cause of the shoulder dislocation. The physician may also check the shoulder for any signs of hypermobility of the joints which is one of the primary causative factors of recurrent shoulder dislocations and instability.
The physician may put the affected individual in a sling for shoulder immobilization to allow the tendon and other ligamentous structures to heal and for the inflammation to calm down. The duration of the shoulder immobilization is usually about one to two weeks for Partial Dislocation of the Shoulder. Once the period of immobilization is over then the patient will have to go through physical therapy to regain lost motion and strength. In some cases where there is recurrent dislocation of the shoulders whether it is partial or complete then surgery is an option to correct the muscular or tendon abnormalities which may be the causative factor for Shoulder Dislocation.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Shoulder Subluxation https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17461-shoulder-subluxation
- Stanford Health Care. (2021). Shoulder Dislocation https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/bones-joints-and-muscles/shoulder-dislocation.html