The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body. It can move in many different
directions. However, this makes a dislocated shoulder joint a common occurrance.
A partial dislocation (subluxation) means the head of the upper arm (humerus) is
partially out of the socket. A complete dislocation means it is all the way out of the
socket. Both types of location cause pain and a feeling of weakness and instability. It
is important to get this type of injury reviewed by a medical professional to check for
any signs of damage to the nerves or blood vessels around the shoulder.
Usually an apprehension test will be performed to confirm a dislocation and an x-ray will be
carried out to out rule a fracture.
This type of injury can happen most commonly by falling on an outstretched hand
where the arm is in and abducted and externally rotated position. Shoulder
dislocation can also be caused due to genetic ligament instability.
A dislocated shoulder joint is more common in athletes. Especially swimmers, rugby, baseball and
tennis players. It may be noted that recurrent dislocation is a major concern after the
first episode. However, physiotherapy will help prevent this from happening.
This type of rehabilitation will include strengthening and range of motion exercises with a
shift to more sports specific exercises as you progress.