Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Subluxation

Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Subluxation

Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Subluxation

Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Subluxation

Shoulder subluxation refers to the partial dislocation of the shoulder joint. This happens when the upper part of the humerus (humeral head) partially exits the glenoid cavity of the shoulder blade. In a complete dislocation, the humerus is completely removed from the joint cavity.

The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the human body. This joint contains a series of bones, ligaments, and muscles that work together to maintain a stable shoulder. However, due to the high mobility, the shoulder is very susceptible to dislocation.

Thus, a subluxation is often the result of trauma or injury. Also, another cause can be the stroke, because it can weaken the muscles in that area.

Clinical picture

A subluxation may be more difficult to identify than a complete dislocation. However, in some cases, the partially dislocated humerus may be visible under the skin.

Also, the bone can easily feel palpable and can cause discomfort and pain. The most common symptoms of subluxation include:

The possibility to observe the deformation of the shoulder;

  • Pain;
  • Inflation;
  • Sensation of numbness or tingling in the arm (paresthesia);
  • Functional impotence;
  • Sensation of shaking or interrupting movements during the activity.

Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Subluxation


Because the shoulder can move in several directions, it can move forward, backward or downward. This is also true for subluxations.

When the dislocation is partial, the joint capsule may be affected, including rupture, which can lead to different complications.

Typically, strong hits or falls can cause a shoulder dislocation. Also, the extreme rotation of the arm can cause the humerus to be pulled out of the glenoid cavity.

Once a shoulder has been dislocated, the joint may become unstable and prone to future dislocations or subluxations.

Shoulder subluxation is mostly caused by:

  • Trauma – subluxation can result from accidents or injuries that affect the joints or other structures that provide stability to the shoulder. The most common examples are falls and road accidents.
  • Sports accidents – contact sports, but not only these, can often cause shoulder subluxation. Gymnastics and skiing are other sports with a high degree of risk, due to frequent falls.
  • Stroke – this neurological condition can cause muscle weakness. Thus, the destabilization of the shoulder joint can be complicated by a subluxation.

A small study reported that 80% of stroke participants also suffered a shoulder subluxation.

Young men, as well as groups of extremely physically active people, have the highest risk of shoulder subluxation.

Treatment options

Proper diagnosis is essential for adopting the best treatment option. Thus, very good diagnostic methods consist of ultrasonography of the shoulder joint or radiography.

The treatment aims to reposition the humerus back to the original place and ensure that it stays in position. Treatment options include:

Closed reduction – this intervention involves easy handling of the bone back into position. In most cases, severe pain disappears almost immediately after reducing maneuvers.

Surgical intervention – it is recommended by orthopaedic in Delhi especially when the dislocations are repeated. This is also the preferred treatment when the nerves, blood vessels or ligaments of the shoulder have been damaged.

Orthosis – some people may need to wear orthotics for a few days or weeks to prevent the shoulder bones from moving. The length of time this device should be worn depends on the severity of the trauma.

Medicines – after surgery, but before, the orthopaedic surgeon in Delhi may recommend a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory drug. In this way, pain and swelling can be reduced.

Rehabilitation – After surgery, the orthopaedic in Dwarka may indicate rehabilitation programs. Their purpose is to restore the range of motion, endurance, and shoulder joint.

The physiotherapist in Delhi may recommend certain exercises that can help you recover faster. These should be done correctly and under supervision, as in certain circumstances, they may aggravate the symptoms. Also, massage and ice applications may be required.

Recovery and potential complications

When an injured person has a subluxation without major injury to the nerves and tissues, the simple repositioning of the humerus should rapidly improve the patient’s condition.

However, if a rest period is not respected and normal activities returned, it is possible to dislocate the shoulder later.

After surgery for a subluxated shoulder, the orthopaedic in West Delhi will recommend, most of the time, that the person in question should wear shoulder support for several weeks.

The gradual introduction of physiotherapy can help a person regain his or her power and movements. However, it is not indicated the intense movements of the shoulder and the activities not recommended by the orthopaedic in Janakpuri. Thus, subsequent complications can be prevented.

The shoulder contains strong tissues, muscles, and ligaments, all helping to maintain the humerus in its place. However, these structures can be injured, complicating subluxation.

Thus, the most common complications of a shoulder subluxation include:

– Affecting blood vessels and shoulder nerves;
– Temporary or permanent loss of movement and flexibility;
– Instability at the shoulder level, followed by recurrent subluxations;
– Other lesions in the tissues of the affected shoulder.

Differential diagnosis

Shoulder subluxation presents some common symptoms with other similar lesions. For this reason, there may be errors in the diagnosis. A subluxation can be confused with:

  • Biceps tendonitis – the condition refers to inflammation of the biceps tendon. Due to the position of this tendon, its damage can usually lead to shoulder pain.
  • Clavicular injuries – fractures or traumas of the clavicle can cause pain in the shoulder, but also in the hindrance of movements at this level.
  • Rotator cuff injuries – this structure covers much of the shoulder joint capsule. His injuries can cause symptoms like those of the shoulder subluxation. Also, minor injuries can heal on their own, while severe injuries may require surgery.
  • Shoulder dislocation – dislocation involves the complete separation of the humerus from the joint cavity. The symptoms are like those of subluxation, and the correct differentiation of these conditions can only be made by an orthopedic in Delhi.
  • “Swimmer’s Shoulder” – Shoulder pain in professional swimmers is often referred to as this.

Because swimming requires a high level of shoulder flexibility and a wide range of movements, swimmers are often likely to have an increased risk of a shoulder injury.


When a person requests medical attention quickly and receives a correct diagnosis, shoulder subluxation is completely treatable.

However, when no surgery is required, it may take several months for the person to resume normal activity.

The recovery time varies depending on the extent of the subluxation and whether or not the affected person has undergone surgery.

Also, following a subluxation, the person concerned must avoid intense activity, to prevent relapse and to speed up recovery.

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