Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball of your shoulder joint comes out of the socket completely. A fall, injury or trauma usually causes this condition, but aging and overuse can also contribute to it.
Shoulder dislocation can make the joint unstable and increase the chance of another dislocation in the future. You may also have torn or stretched muscles, ligaments or tendons.
If you believe your shoulder is dislocated, you should seek medical care right away.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook
The symptoms of shoulder dislocation include:
Feeling or seeing the shoulder joint come out of the socket
Problems moving the joint
To diagnose shoulder dislocation, your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. You may have X-rays and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans of your shoulder.
Your treatment may include:
Avoiding certain activities
Moving the shoulder back in place
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Wearing a shoulder sling or brace
Your shoulder may improve in several weeks if there is no serious nerve or tissue damage. It is important to avoid strenuous activities during recovery because you may dislocate or injure your shoulder again. Your doctor will let you know when it is safe to resume normal activities.
Orthopaedics is proud to be a leader in the care of patients with disorders of the bones, joints and spine. Our faculty, clinicians, and researchers have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, ranking as one of the best hospitals in the nation for in orthopaedic care.
Why Choose Penn State Health for Care
Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report
Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.
Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute
Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).
Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center
Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.
Confidence in Treatment Through Education
We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.
Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research
The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
We have an active clinical science research program and frequently seek volunteers to participate in clinical trials. These studies help our scientists improve diagnostic techniques, develop better treatments, and collaborate with other researchers.