A to Z: Dislocation, Shoulder

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A to Z: Dislocation, Shoulder

A dislocation is when the ligaments that hold the bones of a joint together are stretched and the bones separate. A shoulder dislocation causes the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) to slip out of its normal position in the shoulder socket.

More to Know

The shoulder can become dislocated due to a blow to it or the upper arm, or when the shoulder gets pulled while the arm is reaching out, which often happens during sports.

A dislocated shoulder may move back into place on its own, or a doctor might gently put it back with a maneuver called a reduction. If a reduction is needed, medication is given to make the person comfortable during the maneuver.

Keep in Mind

A shoulder immobilizer or sling is usually worn for a few weeks. After the immobilizer is taken off, physical therapy is generally needed to improve shoulder strength and motion. Usually, people return to most normal activities within a couple of months, although a return to full sports participation can take longer.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.
OrganizationNational Athletic Trainers' Association This site contains information on certified athletic trainers and tips on preventing and healing sports injuries.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
OrganizationAmerican Sports Medicine Institute The mission of ASMI is to improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education.

Related Articles

First Aid: Dislocations A dislocation happens when two connected bones are separated. These injuries require emergency medical care to avoid further damage.
A to Z: Dislocation, Finger A dislocation is when the bones in a joint slip out of their normal position. A finger dislocation may happen from a fall, blow, or sports injury, especially if the finger is bent back or jammed.
Broken Collarbone (Clavicle Fracture) Learn about broken collarbones (or clavicle fractures), a common sports injury in kids, including how to help prevent them.
Preventing Children's Sports Injuries Participation in sports can teach kids sportsmanship and discipline. But sports also carry the potential for injury. Here's how to protect your kids.
Bones, Muscles, and Joints Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn't stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement.
A to Z: Patellar Dislocation Patellar dislocation happens when the patella (kneecap) slips out of its normal position.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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