A dislocated shoulder occurs when the humerus (upper arm bone) separates from the scapula (shoulder blade) at the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint). The shoulder joint is a shallow ball and socket joint, which can be dislocated through trauma.
The most common type of dislocated shoulder is an anterior dislocation. This occurs when the humerus is displaced to the front, this can be caused by a direct blow to the arm or a fall onto an outstretched arm.
Following a dislocation the arm will need to be returned to its original position this is called a reduction. Some dislocated shoulders may require surgery. A reduction should be carried out by trained medical staff as there is the risk of causing further damage or entrapment during reduction.
Following a shoulder dislocation and reduction there can be lot of soft tissue damage, as well as a lot of instability. Physiotherapy can help by treating the damage and helping to stabilise and strengthen the shoulder allowing a graded return to function.