What Every Parent Should Know About Shoulder Dislocation


When the upper end of the bone in your arm gets knocked out of the socket that sits at your shoulder, it's referred to as a dislocated shoulder. If you have a child who is particularly active, he or she may be at risk of or eventually suffer a dislocated shoulder. Here are some things that you need to know about dislocated shoulders to help your child heal.

What Causes a Shoulder Dislocation?

The shoulder joint is fairly delicate, so it doesn't take a significant injury to cause a dislocation. In fact, dislocation is most commonly the result of a direct blow to the upper arm or shoulder. If your child plays sports, a collision during play can cause it. Sports such as football, wrestling, basketball and hockey can increase the risk because of the physical nature of the sports. Accidents such as falling down stairs, from equipment on the playground or off a snowboard can also cause a shoulder dislocation.

What Are the Symptoms of Shoulder Dislocation?

If you've never had a dislocated shoulder before, you might not know the signs of the injury well enough to recognize it. In most situations, a dislocated shoulder will swell noticeably, and it may feel warm to the touch. Your child will likely complain that the shoulder hurts, particularly when trying to move the arm. In some cases, your child may even experience some numbness in the affected arm. If you examine the shoulder, you might notice some redness and bruising as well.

How Do You Treat Shoulder Dislocation?

If you have reason to suspect that your child's shoulder is dislocated, you should get him or her to a pediatrician or urgent care center right away. You can keep the swelling at bay with an ice pack while you're waiting for a doctor's visit.

The doctor will need to restore the position of the joint to fix the shoulder. To ease the discomfort of the process and ensure the safety of the procedure, your child may need to be sedated. After the treatment, your child's arm will need to stay in a sling, immobilized, so that the shoulder can heal. In many cases, you'll also have to take your child in for pediatric physical therapy to help restore the movement of the shoulder joint and preserve the surrounding muscle tissue.

Suffering a shoulder dislocation can weaken the integrity of the shoulder joint, putting your child at risk of subsequent dislocations. If your child experiences multiple dislocations, his or her doctor may suggest surgery and a physical therapy routine to reinforce and strengthen the joint.


29 September 2015

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