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Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation & Related Concerns

Shoulder dislocations are common in athletes, most especially tennis players. A dislocation basically describes an injury to a joint or a disfigured bone. There are different types of shoulder dislocations and partial dislocation is one of them. Partial dislocation is when the ball partly comes out of the joint and then slips back into its position once again.

Since it is one of the most mobile or active joints of the body, a shoulder dislocation may reduce one’s quality of life, most especially when left unattended.

How to Identify a Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation

How to Identify a Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation?

Repeated shoulder dislocations are what describe recurrent shoulder dislocations. Generally, the Gleno-humeral joint is prone to injuries because of the head of the humerus (ball) with a wider circumference as compared to that of the glenoid (socket), which is also shallow.

With that, a layer of cartilage, known as labrum is vital when it comes to the shoulder’s stability. Other soft tissues such as the capsule and the ligaments are also important for stability.

What Can Trigger Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation?

What Can Trigger Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation?

The shoulder joint is the least stable joint which makes it more vulnerable to subluxations or dislocations. Generally, the shoulder tends to dislocate or subluxate repeatedly once a person suffers from the first dislocation. Patients who recurrently suffer from shoulder dislocations are believed to have shoulder instability. These dislocations are generally triggered by trauma from motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports injuries.

Possible Symptoms of a Shoulder Dislocation

Possible Symptoms of a Shoulder Dislocation

There are a number of symptoms that can signify a dislocated shoulder and these include

  • Unsteadiness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Similarly, the shoulder may be visibly deformed by a mere look or touch.

Common Types of Shoulder Dislocations

Common Types of Shoulder Dislocations

Shoulder dislocations are categorized as per the direction which the ball dislocates in relation to the socket. Generally, the dislocations are identified as unidirectional or multidirectional. Unidirectional dislocations are those that dislocate in one direction, whereas multidirectional are those that dislocate in numerous directions. Multidirectional dislocations tend to be automatic in nature and are common in individuals with inborn laxity in their joints.

Unidirectional dislocations include

  • Anterior– This is the commonest type of dislocation and identified when the ball dislocates in front of the socket.
  • Posterior– It is identified when the ball dislocates behind the socket.
  • Inferior– this form is identified when the ball dislocates below the socket.

Diagnosing Shoulder Dislocations

Diagnosing Shoulder Dislocations

Apart from a physical examination and the common symptoms, shoulder dislocations can be identified through;

  • An X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Electromyography

Repeated episodes of shoulder dislocations can also help an orthopaedic doctor diagnose the type of shoulder dislocation. Electromyography is necessary to detect any possibility of nerve damage after a shoulder dislocation.

Complications of shoulder dislocation can also include;

  • Blood vessel injuries
  • Muscle Tears
  • Ligament injuries
  • Tendon ligaments

Possible Shoulder Dislocation Treatments

Closed reduction” is an immediate treatment approach for shoulder dislocations. The treatment approach can also be accompanied by medications to relieve pain.

Surgical Interventions

An open surgery can be performed to correct the dislocation, but an arthroscopy is quite effective and complication free. To stabilize the shoulder, tiny incisions are made to access the inner regions and the detached capsule-labral complex is re-joined to the glenoid. Tightening of the lax capsule is also possible.

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