Shoulder Dislocation Specialist

IASM

Jeffrey Halbrecht, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon located in San Francisco, CA

Shoulder dislocation is the most common type of dislocated joint. If you experience a dislocated shoulder, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Halbrecht, MD, in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, California, can help you regain stability of your shoulder joint. As the leading physician at IASM, Dr. Halbrecht specializes in comprehensive sports medicine. To find out the best treatment for your dislocated shoulder, book an appointment by phone or online today.

Shoulder Dislocation Q & A

What is shoulder dislocation?

The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in your body and the most frequently dislocated. Because the shoulder joint moves in multiple directions it can dislocate forward, backward or downward. Shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper part of the arm bone pops out of its socket. 

The shoulder joint can dislocate partially or completely. Shoulder dislocation can also be multidirectional, which occurs when the shoulder ligaments are loose and the shoulder joint is unstable in multiple directions. Multidirectional dislocations are most common in swimmers and athletes who perform repetitive movements of the upper extremity. 

What are the symptoms of shoulder dislocation?

Symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Severe pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Visible deformity near the shoulder joint

Complete dislocations are easiest to spot because they typically result in an obvious deformity, subluxation or partial dislocation is typically accompanied by intense pain and numbness in the arm. If you experience symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. A dislocated shoulder can lead to tearing of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the shoulder joint as well as nerve and blood vessel damage. 

How is shoulder dislocation treated?

Treatment for shoulder dislocation begins with an evaluation of your injury. Dr. Halbrecht performs a physical exam feeling for swelling, tenderness, and deformity near the shoulder joint. He may perform additional imaging tests like an X-ray or MRI to determine the severity of your condition and identify any other damage to your shoulder joint. 

Treatment depends on your age and the severity of your dislocation. Younger patients are at a higher risk of repeated dislocation increasing the need for surgical treatment. If your condition is minor, nonsurgical treatment involves closed reduction — the process of setting the dislocated shoulder joint back into place. Dr. Halbrecht might also use immobilization to keep the shoulder from moving as it heels, as well as medication to reduce pain and help your muscles relax. Physical rehabilitation is also used to restore strength and stability to the muscle joint. 

For surgical treatment, Dr. Halbrecht uses arthroscopic techniques to secure torn or stretched ligaments and stabilize the muscle joint. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive treatment method that allows Dr. Halbrecht to restore your shoulder joint without making large incisions. 

To speak with Dr. Halbrecht about your shoulder dislocation, call the office or book an appointment online today.