Problems Resulting From Shoulder Dislocation

by / Monday, 24 August 2015 / Published in Shoulder Surgery

Mostly, shoulder dislocations occur following a sports injury or a fall. What happens when a shoulder dislocates is that the tendons that connect the muscles to the bone and the ligaments that connect bones together, become torn or stretched.

The symptoms of shoulder dislocation are;

  • Swellingdislocated-shoulder
  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in the fingers, arm, hand and shoulder

Other than this, a number of other problems may occur with shoulder dislocation as well.

Re-Injury: Dislocation or Subluxation

The shoulder will most likely not require surgery if it has been dislocated for the first time. Instead, the emergency room doctor will relocate or ‘reduce’ the arm back into its shoulder socket.

However, the likelihood of a re-injury is very high once the patient has undergone the pain of an initial shoulder dislocation. With time and the level of activity a person has, he/she may need surgery with a Phoenix shoulder surgeon in the future to repair or tighten a partially or fully dislocated shoulder re-injury.

Rotator Cuff Weakness

The most common problem that occurs after a shoulder dislocation is an increase in risk for rotator cuff weakness. This is when the ligaments and tendons connected to the shoulder become brittle and weak. This happens especially to people over the age of 40 and tennis players, baseball players and swimmers are generally at greater risk of getting this injury.

Damaged Nerves

A network of nerves known as the brachial plexus can get stretched out due to a shoulder dislocation. The job of these nerves is to conduct and relay pain and movement signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand.

When an injury to the brachial plexus occurs, i.e. damaged nerves, the shoulder can be temporarily paralyzed.

Blood Vessel Injury

In some cases, damage to the blood vessels also happens to patients after suffering from shoulder dislocation, although older adults are more at risk of this problem. Blood vessels and artery damage symptoms are; low body temperature, pale skin, bruising, and pain.


The patient goes through bruising and swelling of the joint, especially after experiencing a dislocated shoulder. To help alleviate this, doctors advise patients to;

  • Keep the arm, close to the body and in a sling
  • Use of ice packs on the affected area for 20 minutes, a couple of times daily
  • Avoiding use of the arm or movement
  • Avoiding tight clothing or wearing rings


Out of everything, the most common problem that follows a shoulder dislocation is shoulder pain. For this, the patient suffering can;

  • Use non-steroidal and anti inflammatory drugs
  • Use of ice packs or heat to help relieve discomfort
  • Minimizing activities that could put stress to the shoulder

Chronic Shoulder Instability

Out of all the joints in the human body, the shoulder is the most movable and allows full rotation, lifting, and reaching with the arm.

Due to this, a greater risk for shoulder instability is present. When shoulder dislocation occurs for the first time, it’s vulnerable to future repeat dislocations as well.

For all of these problems, it’s wise to consult your Arizona orthopedic surgeon about the best way to alleviate symptoms before it becomes a bigger problem.

One of the top sports medicine doctors in Phoenix is Dr. Adam Farber. He specializes in sports and is an expert in shoulder treatment for those dealing with dislocation issues.

Call (480) 219-3342 for the top shoulder surgeon in Phoenix and Scottsdale!