The following information is designed to present an overview of Shoulder dislocation/subluxation so that you might better understand what is wrong with your shoulder, what your treatment options are and what the anticipated benefits are with surgery.
The shoulder joint has been compared to a golf ball sitting on a tee. The “ball” is the humeral head, which is round, and the glenoid is a shallow cup or socket. A shoulder that dislocates is one in which the ball portion comes completely out of the socket. Significant trauma is usually required to cause a shoulder to dislocate. The usual direction of dislocation is the front or anterior. It can go out the bottom, or inferior, or a combination of anterior and inferior. Very rarely does it go out the back, or posterior. Anterior dislocations often occur when the arm is outstretched and is forced backwards; for example, as when arm tackling in football. It is usually quite painful, and there may be partial numbness of the shoulder, arm and hand. Most of the time, a physician has to put it back in place (reduce the dislocation).
A shoulder that subluxes is one in which comes only part of the way out of the joint, but not all the way. It then goes back into place, usually on its own, or when the patient wiggles his arm or changes position of the arm. This occurs with significantly less trauma than a dislocation. Subluxation, like dislocation, often occurs when the arm is outstretched, as in throwing a football or baseball. It typically occurs in throwers after years of repetitive activity. It is painful, and often the arm feels weak, numb, or tingling. The first time a shoulder subluxes, it is usually rather painful, and may remain sore for several days.
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