How to Deal With a Dislocated Shoulder Before You Reach a Doctor

Shoulder dislocations affect about 24 people per 100,000 each year in the United States. If you’re one of the unlucky few to experience a dislocation, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

At Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd., our team of orthopedic experts, with offices in West Reading, Exeter, and Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and urgent care in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, wants to help you stay as comfortable and safe as possible while you’re en route to the doctor’s office. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you deal with a dislocated shoulder while you’re waiting for medical attention. Take a few moments to learn what you need to know to manage your dislocated shoulder.

What is a dislocated shoulder?

When you dislocate your shoulder, you’ve somehow moved your upper arm bone out of your shoulder joint. It takes a good amount of force to separate your shoulder’s ball joint from the socket. 

The most common ways to dislocate your shoulder include:

Anterior dislocation

This forward and downward dislocation is the most common type and often results when you fall on an outstretched hand.

Posterior dislocation

 A backward dislocation, this type of dislocation results after direct impact to the front of your shoulder or if your upper arm is twisted. 

How can I be sure it’s a dislocated shoulder?

You can usually tell a shoulder is dislocated because it will be visibly deformed or out of the normal place. Other symptoms include:

In addition, the muscles in your shoulder may spasm from the injury. This can increase the sensation of pain and create significant discomfort through the neck. 

What should I do before I get to the doctor?

If you dislocate your shoulder, you should seek medical attention immediately. Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd. is proud to offer walk-in urgent care at our Wyomissing office. 

While you’re waiting for your doctor, here is what you should do:

Keep the joint immobile

Television shows and the movies may make replacing a dislocated shoulder look easy, but that’s not the case. If your shoulder is dislocated, don’t try to move the joint or replace the dislocated bone. Instead, keep the shoulder joint in position with a sling or splint. Moving the joint can cause serious damage to the muscle, joint, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. 

Apply ice to the injury

Help alleviate your pain and reduce swelling by applying ice to the affected shoulder. Ice can also help control any internal bleeding triggered by the injury and reduce the accumulation of fluids in and around the joint, making treatment easier. 

If you’ve dislocated your shoulder, contact the orthopedic experts at Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd. at their offices in West Reading, Hamburg, or Exeter, Pennsylvania, for treatment as soon as possible or request an appointment online. You can also walk in to our urgent care clinic in Wyomissing. 

Also, you can send a message to the team any time here on our website.

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