How Do I Know If My Shoulder Is Dislocated?

Shoulder dislocation

How Do I Know If My Shoulder Is Dislocated?

Shoulder dislocation is an injury of your upper arm bone coming out of the shoulder socket. It is quite a common orthopaedic injury. One of the most common shoulder joint dislocation symptoms is a sharp, sometimes unbearable pain and an immediate loss of movement and flexibility. Your shoulder can dislocate forwards, backwards or downwards. It can be either completely dislocated (upper arm bone entirely out of the shoulder socket) or partially dislocated (the arm bone being partly out of the socket). 

Your shoulder is one of the strongest joints in your body, so it will take quite a force to dislocate it. You might endure a shoulder dislocation due to a direct impact in sports, an accident, or even moving it too far beyond the flexibility (like twisting, pulling or swinging your arm too far).

So if there are any signs of your shoulder being dislocated, you might want to visit a hospital immediately. Delaying or not having proper care may result in significant joint damage that may leave you vulnerable to weakness, instability and similar dislocations in the future. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Shoulder Dislocation

Dislocation is a serious but one of the most common injuries related to the shoulder. An immediate symptom of almost any orthopaedic injury is pain. Other than pain, the symptoms you may experience are as follows:

  • Not being able to bear even light weights on the affected shoulder
  • Bruising, swelling and tenderness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Not being able to move the shoulder 
  • Shoulder being visibly out of shape
  • Weak and numb shoulder with a tingling sensation

If you experience these dislocated shoulder symptoms, you might want to consult the doctor immediately before it causes permanent damage to the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves.

What Are The Next Steps?

Seek immediate medical attention if you have endured a partial or complete dislocation in your shoulder. Try not to move your shoulder joint and fabricate a rudimentary sling or brace out of a cloth or string to hold your arm and keep your shoulder immobile. Remember not to try putting the joint back into the socket, as you may make things even worse. It can induce further damage to your soft tissues. Instead, apply ice on the joint to reduce the swelling and pain until the doctor sees you. 

An X-ray may be performed to see the extent of dislocation and damage to your joint. According to that, the doctor will try and relocate the shoulder back in the socket. During the procedure, the doctor may administer local anaesthesia and muscle relaxers to ensure there is no pain and the process is as smooth as possible. 

The pain will be reduced (not completely alleviated) as soon as the shoulder is back in the socket. The doctor may consider surgery depending upon the extent of dislocation and damage to the surrounding soft tissues.

Recovery Options

Here are few recovery measures presented to you by the doctor in case of shoulder dislocation:

  • Brace or sling: To keep it as immobile as possible, you may be prescribed a brace or sling. It will result in a faster recovery, so you will be able to return to your daily activities with a full recovery well in time. 
  • Rehabilitation: After your shoulder has recovered, the doctor may prescribe physiotherapy to get the movement ability and flexibility back.
  • Rest and ice: You might want to stay off the exercises and other strenuous activities to prevent any additional load on the shoulder. Also, ice will help you alleviate a bit of the pain and swelling.
  • Medications: OTC painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed after the procedure.

The doctor will recommend the medications and therapies according to the extent of damage endured by your shoulder.

Prevention Of Dislocations

Here are a few preventive techniques:

  • Wear protective gear while playing sports or riding a motorcycle to prevent any accidents.
  • Stretch properly before workouts and playing sports.
  • Take proper rest until you make a full recovery.
  • Perform strength and conditioning exercises.

If you have any questions or queries regarding shoulder dislocation and its symptoms, you might want to consider consulting with the experts at Germanten hospital. So book your appointment with us today!


Germanten Hospital has been one of India’s leading facilities for various medical treatments. Under insightful leadership, we have acquired excellence when it comes to treatments in neurology, plastic or cosmetic surgery, orthopaedics and reconstructive surgery. 

Dr. Mir Jawad Zar Khan has led our hospital to the forefront of the medical industry. He has experience of 20 years in orthopaedics. His alma mater is Osmania University, where Dr. Jawadachieved a gold medal for his excellence in education. He then completed advanced training in the USA and Germany. 

Dr. Jawad was awarded the “Best Doctor” by Shri Roshaiah Garu, the Former Gov. of Tamil Nadu and former CM of Andhra Pradesh. He was also felicitated with the Vaida Ratna Award in 2019 by Shri Etala Rajendra, the honourable health minister of Telangana. In addition to that, Germanten Hospital also received an award of “Best Orthopaedic Hospital In South India” from the Economic Times Group in 2021. 

We have gained access to state-of-the-art medical technology and the latest advanced equipment, which has proven to be quite beneficial for our patients.