Did you know that the shoulder joint is the body’s most mobile joint in your body? Since you tend to use and move your shoulders a lot, they are more susceptible to acquiring injuries such as shoulder dislocations.
Research has shown that in the United States, the overall incidence of shoulder dislocation injuries is 23.9 for every 100,000 person-years. Generally, shoulder dislocations comprise 50% of all types of joint dislocations.
Understanding Shoulder Dislocation
Together with your arms, your shoulder joint can perform many types of movement such as flexing, extending, moving to your side, rotating, or reaching your back.
This mobile nature makes your shoulder joints very unstable. Though there are strong bands of tissues that keep your shoulder joints in place, these can also wear out and tear when you apply too much stress on them. Fortunately, wearing shoulder braces that stabilize shoulder joints can help prevent shoulder dislocation.
Exercise-related shoulder dislocation injuries may occur when you exercise at the gym for prolonged hours, lift weights or play sports without proper stretching and failing to observe proper rest intervals. This will not only render your arms temporarily immobile, but you will also experience tremendous pain.
When you have a shoulder dislocation, the ball-shaped top part of your arm bone (called the humerus) pops out of its normal position in the shoulder blade socket. Your shoulder blade socket is shallow, so if you apply too much stress on your shoulder joints, your humerus can easily slip out.
Risk Factors for Shoulder Dislocation Injuries
While shoulder dislocation is a type of injury that can affect anyone, there are people who are more predisposed to this injury such as:
Males who engage in sports activities.
Young people aged 15-29 because they are more physically active.
People who play sports needing frequent change in directions and movements (baseball, basketball, skiing, etc.)
People who work on jobs with high physical demands (military, factory workers, etc.)
Common Causes of Shoulder Dislocation Injuries
Other causes of shoulder dislocation injuries are the following:
Signs and Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder
To perform a quick assessment of a shoulder dislocation, you should be aware of the following signs and symptoms:
There’s a visible deformity in your shoulders such as improper alignment, lumps or bulges.
There’s swelling in the affected area as well as redness, tenderness, and bruises.
Intense pain that gets worse even with slight movement.
First Aid Management
When helping out someone with a shoulder dislocation, act fast and do the following:
Call for emergency medical help.
Keep the arm and shoulder still. Further movements can aggravate the condition. Immobilize it by carefully by placing a pillow or a rolled towel between the patient’s upper arm and chest.
Apply an ice pack in order to reduce swelling and alleviate the pain.
Remove any bracelets or rings. These might impede the blood flow to the patient’s arm and hand, especially once swelling takes place.
When medical intervention is already applied and your shoulder is already put back in place by your medical provider, you might be sent home right away if your condition is not that grave. For a speedy recovery, you can try the following tips:
Follow what your doctor tells you, take your prescribed medicines, and regularly attend your physiotherapy or rehabilitation as advised.
Usually, you can resume most of your activities within 2 weeks. However, your doctor might advise you not to do any strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or contact sports for as long as 3 months.
Incorporate high-protein foods into your diet. Remember that protein plays an important role in tissue repair.
Once you already have a history of a shoulder dislocation injury, you need to observe extra care. You can prevent future injuries by strengthening your shoulder muscles through strength training and stability exercises. Don’t forget to wear protective gear when you are doing your exercise.