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Shoulder Dislocation

dislocated shoulder image

The shoulder joint is described as a ball and socket joint, and is the most movable joint in the body. This allows the shoulder to provide the wide range of motion required to perform many activities, such as throwing, rotating, and reaching over our head. When the ball slips out of the socket, your shoulder has dislocated.

Causes and Risk Factors

  • Falling
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Playing sports such as football, basketball, or volleyball
  • Forceful throwing, lifting, or hitting


Shoulder dislocation causes pain, and often an inability to move the shoulder. Other symptoms may include:

  • Instability and weakness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Visible bump under skin where ball has shifted
  • Numbness and tingling


An orthopedic surgeon will reset the joint by moving your arm back into place. Your doctor may recommend rest, ice, a sling, rehabilitation exercises, and anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery is rarely needed for a first time dislocation, but it is often required for a shoulder that dislocates repeatedly (shoulder instability).