What is Shoulder Subluxation

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body and can be dislocated in many different ways, depending on the cause. A shoulder subluxation is a joint dislocation between the arm and the scapula. This occurs when the ball and socket joint in your upper arm isn’t firmly secured within it’s socket, which allows it to become partially or fully dislocated. A mild subluxation may require a soft tissue treatment, whereas large and severe subluxations may require surgery to fix. It’s important to make sure you know what causes shoulder pain, the treatment options available, and what symptoms to look for if you have shoulder pain.


Causes of Shoulder Subluxation

A shoulder subluxation will often result from a fall on an outstretched arm, usually after an accident. This injury can also occur due to other forms of trauma to the joint, such as a car accident. Most commonly we see shoulder subluxations in athletes that play football and lift weights. It’s imperative to make sure that you have a proper diagnosis of your shoulder pain so that you can receive the correct treatment.


When you suffer from shoulder subluxation, you will experience some symptoms that can be quite dreadful. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Weakness in or around the shoulder

If your symptoms occur after an injury to your shoulder, you should see a doctor to check if you’ve experienced a shoulder subluxation.


Getting a proper diagnosis of your shoulder subluxation is the first step to getting proper treatment for your shoulder pain. Once your doctor has your diagnosis, they can get you on a proper treatment plan. At Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, we exhaust non-surgical options first.


Methods of Treatment

They are many methods for treating shoulder subluxation. The most commonly used methods include rehabilitation, surgery, and medication.


Because shoulder subluxations can debilitate your range of motion, you will require a rehabilitation or physical therapy program. Your physical therapist will teach you how to properly use your shoulder using an exercise program that is specific to you and your daily activities.


If the subluxation of your shoulder has become severe and rehabilitation does not result in improvement, your doctor may recommend surgery. At Plano Orthopedic, our physicians use the surgical method as a last result treatment options. However, if surgery is the recommended treatment plan, there are low-risk surgical methods for shoulder subluxation, such as scapulothoracic fusion, shoulder arthroplasty or using plates and screws to fix the joint. The method your physician chooses will be determined by your specific issue and pain.


If you’re pain is noticeable, you can take medication, such as ibuprofen, to help ease the pain and inflammation associated with your shoulder subluxation. If your pain is severe and over-the-counter medications are not helping, your physician may prescribe stronger medication to help with the pain. With any medication, you must follow the directions of your physician while taking them.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, it’s important to have a physician examine what problems may be causing the pain. Plano Orthopedic in Richardson, Texas has a team of physicians that that can help you identify the problem and get a treatment plan in place to avoid further injury or disability.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!

Dr. Matthew C. Comley

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Randal L. Troop

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Michael S. Howard

Shoulder, Elbow and Upper extremity
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Dr. John E. McGarry

General Orthopedics, Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Earl R. Lund

Shoulder, Elbow, Hand and Wrist
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