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Shoulder Dislocation

Our Pediatric Sports Medicine team put together these videos to provide information for you.
Drew Warnick, MD

Hello my name is Doctor Drew Warnick, and I am the surgical director of AllSports Medicine at All Children's Hospital. I am a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with special training in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine.

In this video, we are going to discuss the shoulder dislocation and instability.

The shoulder is the body's most mobile joint in the body. It is able to turn in many directions. This greater range of motion makes the shoulder an easy joint to dislocate.

How is the shoulder dislocated?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that acts much like a golf ball sitting on top of a tee. Strong connective tissue, called the shoulder capsule, is the ligament system that keeps the shoulder attached and centered in the socket.

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of humerus - "the ball" - is forced out of the glenoid - or the socket. When the head of the humerus dislocates, the ligaments in front of the shoulder are often injured and torn.

What happens if my shoulder has dislocated?

If your shoulder has dislocated, you may continue to have recurrent dislocations. You may have a feeling that the shoulder is unstable or giving out.

How do I know if my shoulder is unstable?

Common symptoms of shoulder instability include: pain, repeated shoulder dislocations, multiple instances of the shoulder giving out, and a persistent sensation that the shoulder feels loose.

At AllSports Medicine, we will examine your shoulder with specific tests to help assess instability of the shoulder. X-rays and Magnetic Resonance imaging may be needed to help identify injuries to the ligaments surrounding your shoulder joint.

What are my treatment options?

At Allsports Medicine, we will develop a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. Shoulder instability is often first treated with physical therapy and activity modification. Physical therapy is important to increase shoulder control and strengthen the shoulder muscles to increase the stability of the joint. You may also be instructed to avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms. If these options do not relieve the pain and instability, surgery may be needed.

In young athletes, arthroscopic surgery is often necessary to repair or tighten the torn or stretched ligaments that help hold the joint in place. At Allsports medicine we use cutting edge techniques to look inside the shoulder with a tiny camera and repair the torn ligaments with special pencil-thin instruments.

After surgery, your shoulder will be immobilized with a sling and exercises to rehabilitate the shoulder with be started. Return to full activity is expected in 4-6 months.

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