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What to Do When You Dislocate a Shoulder?

What to Do When You Dislocate a Shoulder?

A shoulder injury is the most painful thing that can happen to an individual. It not only causes pain in the shoulder but also induces short term disability that can affect the human emotionally as well as mentally. In the event if one dislocates a shoulder, a trained healthcare professional should be contacted otherwise the situation can get worse and it might happen that your shoulder would never heal. Therefore a prompt decision is required if such a situation arises. Know what to do when you dislocate a shoulder.

What to Do When You Dislocate a Shoulder?

Self-Diagnosis of a Dislocated Shoulder

The sooner you identify a dislocated shoulder, the easier and quicker it becomes to treat your shoulder. Following are the ways in which you can identify a dislocated shoulder:-

  • If your shoulder is dislocated, you would have difficulty in moving it.
  • Further you would see a depression in the level of your injured shoulder and the normal shoulder
  • The arm may turn blue in color and shall lack sensation if the nerves are also damaged

How to Manage a Dislocated Shoulder?

First Aid

As soon as you identify a dislocated shoulder, the next step is to stabilize it till you reach the physician’s clinic. Following are the first aids that can come in handy to stabilize the dislocated shoulder:-

  • Keep your hands in a stable position by tying your hand, on the broken shoulder side with your neck, with the help of a cloth till the time you reach the physician’s clinic.
  • Try to ice the dislocated joints as it will decrease the inflammation from occurring.

Consult an Orthopedist

  • Orthopedist starts the treatment by locating the dislocated shoulder. Thereafter, the area is cleansed with a swab and spirit. Then, a 30 mg injection of Ketorolac is injected. It helps in decreasing the pain associated with dislocate shoulder.
  • After stabilizing the dislocated shoulder, the physician checks the extent of damage by slowly moving the hand and stops when it starts paining. The extent to which the elbow rotates, gives a fair idea to the orthopedician about the extent of damage. Thereafter, a traction is given to check the popping sound. This popping sound confirms the presence of dislocation of shoulders.
  • The next step which is performed is an X-Ray. Once the X-Ray confirms the presence of the injury, treatment regime is decided by the orthopedician depending upon the extent of injury. If the injury is minor, then a plaster is tied across the hand along with the neck for few months. The time duration of the plaster depends on the pace of healing as well as the age of the patient. Antibiotics and pain killers are also prescribed along with it.

However, if the injury is a major one, then surgical procedures are performed to treat the condition.


Once the shoulder is fixed back, to bring it back in movement again, try referring a physiotherapist. Since the hand was in dormant state for several months, a physiotherapist can suggest you some exercises that can help bring your shoulder movement back to normal again.

Hence, it is evident that there are a lot of hardships through which an individual with dislocated shoulders goes through. However, by identifying the issue on time followed by correct application of the first aid as well as compliance to the doctors prescribed regime can help ease the whole treatment process. Don’t forget the adage saying, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Shoulder Dislocation https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/18096-shoulder-dislocation

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 29, 2023

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