- Subluxation—The humeral head moves partially out of the shoulder socket.
- Dislocation—The humeral head moves completely out of the socket.
- Anterior—The humeral head moves toward the front.
- Posterior—The humeral head moves toward the back.
- Inferior—The humeral head drops downward.
- Multidirectional—The humeral head moves toward difference places.
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- Trauma, such as a fall with an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the shoulder
- Previous shoulder dislocation
- Athletic activity, especially:
- Any collision or contact sport
- Swimming, especially backstroke or butterfly
- Congenital collagen disorders, such as:
- Family members with shoulder instability
- Pain in the shoulder area
- Shoulder or arm weakness
- Shoulder may feel loose
- Shoulder may slip out of place
- Numb feeling down the arm
- Rest—Avoid activities that produce pain or stress the joint.
- Ice—This helps to control pain and inflammation, especially after exercise.
- Medication—Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be given to manage pain.
Rehabilitation—This can last several months and may include:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that control the shoulder joint, particularly the internal rotators of the shoulder
- Specific exercises for certain sports or job activities
- Learning how to modify activities to prevent reinjury
- Surgery—Many different procedures may be used to correct shoulder instability. The goal is to fix the cause. An arthroscopic or an open technique may be used. After surgery, the arm is kept from moving for 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the procedure.
- Doing regular exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles
- Using proper athletic training methods
- Increasing the duration or intensity of your exercises gradually
- Modifying activities to prevent excessive external rotation and overhead motions of the shoulder
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
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- Reviewer: Laura Lei-Rivera, DPT
- Review Date: 09/2015 -
- Update Date: 11/21/2013 -