The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint that is made of the glenoid of the scapula and the proximal humerus. The joint is covered by a capsule that is attached to the labrum. The shoulder joint connects the upper limb to the trunk and is one of the most mobile joints of the body. It can turn in many directions, which makes it easier to dislocate. The most common cause of a shoulder dislocation is a fall or blow to the shoulder like during sports activities.
Shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball shaped proximal part of the humerus leaves the socket in the glenoid. The ball and socket get separated which also causes injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together. The shoulder joint can dislocate forward, backward or downward. A partial dislocation or subluxation means the head of the humerus is partially out of the glenoid (socket) and a complete dislocation means it is all the way out of the glenoid. Both partial and complete shoulder dislocations can cause swelling, numbness, unsteadiness and pain in the shoulder.
If a shoulder dislocation is diagnosed, the doctor places the ball of the humerus back into the joint socket in correct alignment. This process is called closed reduction because it does not require any open surgery. If there are no muscle spasms, the pain stops immediately after reduction. Treatment for shoulder dislocation must be done at a renowned orthopaedic centre in Indore.
An X-ray is done to confirm the alignment of the joint. The orthopaedic doctor may recommend wearing a sling for a few days to promote healing and prevent recurrence. Ice application 3-4 times a day helps in faster recovery. Once the joint heals, physiotherapy exercises help in stretching the shoulder and restoring mobility.
If cases where the joint continues to be unstable, surgery is advisable. A minimally invasive procedure is done using an arthroscope in which the capsule/labrum are stitched back into place using sutures.
The rotator cuff group of muscles are responsible for the wide range of movement of the shoulder joint. Strengthening these muscles is important in preventing a recurrence of shoulder dislocation. This can be achieved by using resistance weights, rubber bands and cables while doing shoulder exercises. In addition to this any activity that places the shoulder at risk should be strictly avoided.