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At Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, several of our orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating shoulder dislocations. The Slocum Center has been caring for shoulder conditions for more than four decades. That means that your shoulder dislocation will be treated by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched in Eugene, the surrounding areas of Oregon, and throughout the Northwest.

Symptoms to look for include swelling, numbness, weakness, and bruising. Sometimes dislocation may tear ligaments or tendons in the shoulder.


A traumatic injury can dislocate the shoulder. Sometimes, it is the end result of a severe shoulder sprain; it can also result from a congenital abnormality.

The most common type of shoulder dislocation occurs when the shoulder slips forward. This means the upper arm bone moved forward and down, out of its joint. It may happen when the arm is put in a throwing position. The shoulder joint can dislocate forward, backward, or downward.


Warm up adequately prior to any physical activity, practice, or competition. Athletes should participate in a strength and flexibility program appropriate for the sport, especially prior to throwing. For repetitive instability, rotator cuff and scapular muscle strengthening is important.


A doctor will place the ball of the upper arm bone back into the joint socket, which is called closed reduction. Once the shoulder joint is back in place, the severe pain is relieved. Then rest is needed.

An orthopedist may prescribe a sling or other device to immobilize the shoulder for several weeks following treatment after the first episode; lesser recovery time is required for subsequent incidents. The sore area should be iced 3-4 times a day. Once the pain and swelling decrease, rehabilitation exercises can be started to help restore the shoulder's range of motion and strengthen its muscles. Rehab may also help prevent dislocating the shoulder again. Initially, the emphasis is on gentle muscle toning exercises with weights added as strength is developed and following physician's instructions. In certain instances, especially if the shoulder continues to dislocate or feel unstable, surgery may be necessary to stabilize the joint. Newer minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques are often used, although more traditional open surgeries may be necessary in certain cases.

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