All You Need To Know About Shoulder Dislocation

Dr. Dinesh Patel

Shoulder dislocations can be partial (subluxation) or complete, with the humerus bone entirely out of its socket.


Known as the most mobile joint in the human body, the shoulder joint is characterized by a ball-and-socket mechanism where the head of the humerus bone fits into the glenoid cavity of the scapula. The shoulder’s ball-and-socket structure allows it to rotate in multiple directions, making it highly mobile. Though it’s attached to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the shoulder can become unstable due to its mobility. As a result, the shoulder has the highest chance of dislocating out of all the joints in the body. For example, shoulder dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone has separated from the socket.

Types of Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocations can be partial (subluxation) or complete, with the humerus bone entirely out of its socket. Partial shoulder dislocations mean the humerus bone is only partly out of its socket. Complete shoulder dislocations are more severe and require medical attention to put the bone back in its place. In addition to bone displacement, shoulder dislocation cases can also involve tears in the ligaments or labrum within the shoulder joint.

Shoulder dislocation can occur forward, backwards, or downward. Anterior shoulder dislocations are the most common type, which occur when an injury forces the arm to move forward or downward while being abducted from the body. This can result in the humerus bone sliding out of its socket in the front of the shoulder joint. The humeral head anterior dislocation causes the ball to exert intense upward pressure on the front glenoid labrum at the socket’s front.

A Hill-Sachs lesion often accompanies Bankart lesions, which involve damage to the anterior inferior part of the glenoid labral complex in the shoulder joint. A Hill-Sachs lesion is similar to a dent in your bone. The ball at the humerus top, which is located in the shoulder blade, may get harmed if your shoulder dislocates and is forced against the lip of the socket.

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