A shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of the arm bone (humerus) separates from the socket. The shoulder will visibly look out of place and the patient will complain that his or her shoulder feels like it is sitting in his or her arm pit. The patient will also not want to move his or her arm. Numbness can occur at the same time and make the arm feel “dead” (dead-arm syndrome). If the shoulder is not put back into place (reduced), further damage to the nerves around the shoulder can occur.
The patient should seek medical attention immediately. One should never try to reduce or get the shoulder back in its socket without medical help.
Starting physiotherapy right after the shoulder is reduced can restore range of motion, strength and control pain. Repeated shoulder dislocations have a cumulative effect; therefore, surgical intervention may be indicated in cases of repeated dislocations.