What is Shoulder Dislocation?

Often, we’ve seen sportsmen trip and fall in awkward angles and experience severe shoulder dislocations in the course of history. Their reactions afterwards should be evidence enough of how painful this can be. This is an unfortunate and sadly, a common injury for those in the field and those who lead active, high-impact lifestyles. Many clinics in Singapore and the world at large, report hundreds of shoulder dislocation cases every month. This shows that it is a common and likely injury that the mass needs to be educated about.

Going direct to the question; what is shoulder dislocation? Well, a shoulder dislocation is experienced when the bone of the upper arm pops out of the lower shoulder socket known as glenoid. This normally happens when a strong force is exerted resulting in the pulling of the shoulder upwards and outwards thus dislocating it. Explaining this phenomenon itself is disturbing, and it is imperative to avoid it as much as you can. The full recovery time for such an injury can last up to one year. More information about treatments and surgery can be found here: https://sgbonedoctor.com/shoulder/shoulder-instabilitydislocation/

Types of Shoulder Dislocations

Shoulder dislocations are normally classified differently in accordance to the direction of the dislocated humerous. We have two types

  • Partial dislocation – This is also known as subluxation. It occurs when the humerous slides off the socket for a moment then snaps back into its normal place.
  • Full dislocation – This is where the humerus is dislocated completely out of its socket and doesn’t snap back.

Symptoms of Shoulder Dislocation

How will you know that you are suffering from a shoulder dislocation? Well, it is obvious that your shoulder area will be extremely painful, but there’s more to that. Here are the symptoms to look out for in order to know whether you are suffering from a shoulder dislocation

  • You will have trouble moving your arm. This is because the shoulder bone is out of its socket, thus, there will be restraints in movements.
  • There will be bruising and swelling in your upper arm.
  • You will experience numbness or weakness in your neck, arm, fingers and hands.
  • Your arm will be out of place.

Preventing Shoulder Dislocations

Prevention is definitely better than cure; and cheaper too. No one loves getting hurt, and for this reason we have to take care of ourselves immensely to avoid shoulder injuries. How do we go about this?

  • Avoid falls as much as possible. Hard knocks on your shoulders are what causes the dislocations. Wear shoes with treads for firm grip. Also, during sports like football, be extra careful and play cool. This will go a long way in keeping your shoulders and even other body parts from getting injured.
  • Ensure that you have your protective gears on when playing contact sports. Games such as rugby and American football subject one to lots of shoulder contacts. These gears will do a good job in preventing any injuries to your shoulders.
  • Exercise regularly. This is important in ensuring the flexibility and strength of your muscles and joints. The more you exercise, the more fit you become. You should consult with your physiotherapist who will advice on some shoulder exercises to undertake.


Shoulder dislocation can be very painful. With this, it is better off prevented than cured. In case it occurs, waste no time and visit your nearest clinic as soon as possible. Take car of yourself when engaging in sports or hard physical labor. Also, exercise daily to train your shoulder muscles.


Rehabilitation After A Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocation cases in Singapore are numerous, especially among the youths. This is mainly because they are actively involved in sports and physical labor. The shoulder is one of the easiest joints to dislocate because the ball joint of your upper arm sits in a very shallow socket. This makes the arm extremely mobile and able to move in many directions, but also means it isn’t very stable.

A dislocated shoulder injury can be caused by a trauma such as a car accident or from impact with the ground or humans in certain contact sports such as rugby and football.

It may take up to a year for you to completely heal from your injury after the shoulder has been put back into place.

Your doctor will prescribe rehabilitation after your injury. You may need to put a sling for a few days to stabilize the arm while the pain settles. If your damage is severe, your doctor will refer you for r physiotherapy to rehabilitate and strengthen your shoulder. You doctor may give you some exercise to do at home if your injury is mild.

The chances of dislocating your shoulder again are high, so its advisable you stop any activity that may cause another injury. However, subsequent dislocations do sometimes do occur, especially in younger people.

Doing regular recovery exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist and avoiding awkward arm positions can reduce the risk of dislocating your shoulder again.

Read more here for Providence’s Treatment for Shoulder Dislocation.

Rehabilitation and Healing Process

Once the shoulder has been restored to its position in the socket, rehabilitating the shoulder should begin immediately. You need to strengthen the shoulder fully before returning to any strenuous activity or games.

The first phase involves restoring the shoulder to its socket. This should be followed by placing a sling around the shoulder to keep it stabilized for healing to take place.

Pain can be an issue during the first weeks after the injury. Your doctor may give you a prescription to help relieve your pain with painkillers. Also applying an ice pack on the shoulder may help with the pain and keep the swelling down.

The second phase of the healing process is to start and increase your movement to build muscle strength, especially on your rotator cuff, the muscles that rotate the arm. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may need specialized care or exercises that can be done at home.

It’s normal to feel stiff and some discomfort when you start moving again. If the pain persists, stop, and consult with your physiotherapist. Start with short, frequent sessions and then gradually increase the intensity to build up muscle strength.

It’s essential to do the prescribed movements to ensure your arms heals quickly. If the pain persists, rest and take pain relief medication.

The third phase involves a check from your doctor to ensure you are healing well. Your physiotherapists may recommend more exercises to restore normal function. Your doctor will recommend advanced exercises to make sure your shoulder is functioning, as it should.


Different people heal differently with some taking longer depending on the injury. A shoulder injury can take longer to heal. While recuperating, avoid any strenuous activity and giving yourself a break to get back to your usual self.



Common Causes of Shoulder Dislocation in Singapore

Of all body parts, the shoulder is one of the most frequently dislocated. Why is this so? The shoulder is probably the most active body part as it is attached to arms and hands that we use at almost every moment. It moves in all directions and undergoes lots of pressure. Most dislocations occur at the front of the shoulder though the dislocation can occur in any direction; backward, forward, downward, partially or completely.

It requires a strong force to be able to shift the shoulder bones out of their sockets, such as a sudden blow. Rotating your shoulder joints can make them pop out of the shoulder sockets. We have two types of dislocations; partial and full dislocations. The difference between the two is that unlike full dislocation, the partial dislocation allows the shoulder to be shifted back into its original position.

If you’re a Singaporean and are actively involved in any physical activities, whether labor or sports, this article is for you. You are at a high risk of experiencing shoulder dislocation. We look at the common causes for shoulder dislocations and treatments.


Who are at the Highest Risks of Shoulder Dislocations?

From the explanations above, it is clear that for a shoulder dislocation to occur, there must be lots of movements and spins. This description best fits young lads; teens or people in their 20s. this group is the most active, engaging in many physical activities, such as physical labors and sports. This, thus, exposes them to lots of risks and high vulnerability to shoulder dislocations.

The good news is that young people have vibrant and strong bones. So, in case of the occurrence of shoulder dislocations accidents, there is a high probability that you will be back in your normal form in np time. This, however, doesn’t imply that you should be careless. Take care of yourself and be cautious at all times.

Common Causes of Shoulder Dislocations

Traumatic Shoulder Dislocations

The traumatic shoulder dislocation is also known as high speed, and it occurs when your shoulder pops out at high speeds because of being subjected to vulnerable positions. This commonly occurs to the arm on your side. This injury in most cases occurs during falls or during football tackles.

Repetitive Ligament Overstrain

Often, people with loose ligaments in their shoulder have high chances of dislocating their shoulders very easily. The loose ligament may be a normal anatomy or alternatively the results of overstretching the shoulder joint repetitively. Certain sports require engaging your shoulders a lot and are the reason for overstretching of your ligaments. These are inclusive of tennis, swimming, cricket, volleyball and baseball among others.

Having loose ligaments makes it difficult for your shoulder to be stable. If this is the case for you, it is advisable that you undergo a rotator cuff strengthening program to help rehabilitate and prevent any further injuries. Your physiotherapist will advice you on the way forward.

Multi-Directional Instability

Some patients experience unstable shoulders due to genetic dispositions. The shoulders normally feel loose in a number of directions. This is known as multi0directional instability. Because this is a result of genetics, these patients rarely respond positively to surgery. The best option for them is to undergo a stabilization strengthening program.


The above-mentioned points are the main causes of shoulder dislocation. With this knowledge, you are better off taking good care of yourself to avoid such. Regardless, no matter how cautious you are, accidents occur. With this, visit an orthopedic clinic and have your shoulder examined by a professional physiotherapist.

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