These symptoms indicate a dislocated shoulder


If the shoulder is dislocated, it is called a shoulder dislocation or shoulder joint dislocation. It is the most common dislocation of a joint in our body. If too much force is applied to the shoulder joint, the humerus can jump out of its position in the shoulder and lose contact with the socket. Depending on the direction in which the joint head of the humerus jumps, there is an anterior, posterior and lower shoulder dislocation. Anterior shoulder dislocation is the most common form of dislocation. The shoulder dislocation typically causes unpleasant symptoms such as pain and accompanying injuries to the surrounding tissue.

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These are the typical symptoms of a dislocated shoulder

  • Strong pain

  • swelling

  • bruise

  • Limitation of mobility of the shoulder joint

  • Side shoulder and arm numbness

  • Tingling / tingling in the shoulder area and arm

  • paralysis

  • Faint

  • Posture of the arm in a typical relieving position


If a shoulder is acutely dislocated, an extremely strong pain shoots into the shoulder joint due to the enormous amount of force. The tissue in the shoulder joint swells and a bruise occurs, the fluids press on the surrounding structures, which is painful. Usually the pain persists, a little less than when the trauma began. The shoulder joint is very sensitive and painful on pressure in those affected. At the same time, movements of the arm and shoulder feel intense pain, so that those affected automatically hold the shoulder and arm in a relieving position. The shoulder needs to be put back into place in order to end the pain in the long term.

Numbness / tingling in the arm

Nerves run close to the shoulder joint that can be injured during dislocation of the shoulder joint. Such nerve damage can cause disturbed sensation in the lateral shoulder and arm. Unpleasant symptoms such as tingling or pins and needles or a feeling of numbness in the affected area are possible symptoms of such an accompanying injury.


A dislocated shoulder, more precisely an anterior lower shoulder dislocation, can be associated with damage to the axillary nerve. If this nerve is damaged by the trauma, the muscles supplied by the nerve suffer. The deltoid muscle, also called the deltoid muscle, lies on the shoulder joint and atrophies in a paresis of the axillary nerve. In addition, smaller muscles are paralyzed, which align the arm movements when the arm is spread to the side and forwards. In addition, outward turning is weakened. As a result, a dislocated shoulder can paralyze the large deltoid and smaller muscles of the shoulder.

Restriction of movement

If the shoulder is dislocated, the arm and shoulder of the affected side are severely restricted. Since every slightest movement causes severe pain, those affected avoid all arm movements. At the same time, the dislocated joint with the incorrect position of the humerus also drastically restricts the directions of movement. Because of the symptoms, the sick person holds the arm close to the body and typically avoids any movement.

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Fainting refers to a temporary loss of consciousness. It can be an accompanying symptom of an acute, traumatic shoulder dislocation. If the shoulder is acutely dislocated to the joint in an accident or some other form of violence, this puts a strain on the person's circulation. At the same time, serious accompanying injuries can occur. In the acute situation of a shoulder dislocation, the person affected may lose consciousness and faint for a short time.

What does the arm look like when a shoulder is dislocated?

There are characteristic positions of the upper arm for the three possible forms of shoulder dislocation. The position of the arm represents the direction in which the shoulder is dislocated. The most common form is anterior shoulder dislocation, with the upper arm slipping forward towards the chest. In the posterior dislocation, the humerus points backwards, towards the back. The third form is lower shoulder dislocation. The head of the humerus points in the direction of the armpit and is clearly directed downwards.

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Which symptoms can remain after the straightening?

Depending on the extent of the shoulder dislocation and possible accompanying injuries, symptoms can persist even after the treatment of the dislocated shoulder joint. Initially, there may be permanent instability in the shoulder joint. Once the shoulder is dislocated, the risk of the joint dislocating again increases. This is especially true when structures such as the joint lip of the shoulder joint or the biceps tendon are injured. Typically, the upper arm then jumps forward, towards the chest. This is a common consequence of a dislocated shoulder.

At the same time, nerves and vessels can be injured as part of the dislocation. Existing tingling, pins and needles or numbness in the area of ​​the shoulder and arm can be long-term consequences of nerve damage. The axillary nerve is an important nerve for the shoulder and arm that can be damaged as part of a shoulder dislocation and trigger the corresponding symptoms. This can also cause certain muscles, such as the deltoid muscles and small muscles of the rotator cuff, to become paralyzed and permanently restricted in their movement.

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