Dislocated Shoulder

A dislocated shoulder refers to an injury where your humerus (upper arm bone) pops out of the cup-shaped socket, which is a part of your shoulder blade, where it sits. Should this happen, your joint may become unstable.

Additionally, you might find that once you’ve had a shoulder dislocation, you may be prone to dislocating it again.

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Treatment Options

What Causes a Dislocated Shoulder?

A number of factors can cause a dislocated shoulder. Typically, it would require a strong blow to the shoulder to shift the bones out of their rightful place. Alternatively, should you rotate your shoulder to the extreme, you may also push the ball of your humerus out of its socket, resulting in a dislocated shoulder. 

Due to the nature of the shoulder joint and its ability to move in various directions, you can dislocate your shoulder either backwards or forwards, downwards, and completely or partially. A partial dislocation refers to a dislocation where the humerus is part in and part out of its socket. 

What are the Symptoms of Dislocated Shoulder?

The symptoms related to a dislocated shoulder often include a visibly displaced shoulder and an intense feeling of pain. 

You may experience these symptoms if you are suffering from a dislocated shoulder:

  • Intense pain
  • Arm feels weak
  • Numbness/tingling reaches down the arm or up the neck
  • Shoulder Spasms
  • Shoulder looks out of place

Dislocated Shoulder Treatment

There are several available treatment plans available should you dislocate your shoulder. There are both surgical and non-surgical options that our doctors will recommend based on your specific case.


Most often, doctors will attempt a closed reduction. This is where the shoulder is manoeuvred gently back into place. You may be prescribed some muscle relaxants or a sedative depending on your level of pain.

Alternatively, our doctors may recommend that your arm be placed in a sling or a splint to immobilise the shoulder and allow it to rest. Once you can remove the sling or splint, you typically will need some rehabilitation to regain strength in the shoulder and to reduce the chance of re-dislocating it.


In the case that your shoulder labrum (shoulder joint’s socket lip) is torn and your joint is weakened, your sport or working demands may put you at a high risk of dislocating your shoulder again. You may also re-dislocate your shoulder if you have broken part of the shoulder socket.

In these cases, surgery may be recommended to treat a dislocated shoulder. During surgery, our doctors can repair the torn labrum.

This is commonly done via arthroscopic (keyhole surgery) shoulder stabilisation, where the torn labrum can be repaired.