Shoulder dislocation results when the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) is forced out of socket. Typically, this results from a traumatic injury (ie. sports), fall, or seizure, which causes the shoulder to move partially (subluxation) or fully (full dislocation) out of socket. When a shoulder dislocation occurs, it can result in tears of supporting structures of the shoulder including the labrum, ligaments, tendons, or muscles. It may also be responsible for associated fractures about the joint. Once the supporting structures about the shoulder have been stretched or torn, it can lead to repeated instability or dislocations of the shoulder in the future.
Initial treatment for shoulder dislocation includes immobilization in a sling and therapy.
If there are repeated shoulder dislocations, advanced imaging with an MR arthrogram may be recommended. This can help assess for damaged structures. Surgical treatment via arthroscopic repair of the labrum, shoulder ligaments, or tendons may be recommended to improve stability of the shoulder.