Dislocated shoulder

Dislocated shoulder

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How can I tell whether my child has dislocated his shoulder?

Your child's shoulder may be dislocated if he's fallen on it or received a blow to the area and has any of these symptoms: swelling, bruising, redness, or deformity in the area; pain; difficulty moving his arm or shoulder.

If your child has dislocated his shoulder he may also have numbness or tingling down his arm or in his neck, or muscle spasms in his shoulder.

How does a child's shoulder become dislocated?

A shoulder becomes dislocated when the knobby head of the upper arm bone (the humerus) slips out of its socket and stretches or tears the supporting ligaments and surrounding muscles. It can be partially dislocated (if the head is partly out of the socket) or completely dislocated.

This injury is often the result of a bad fall, such as when a child slips off the monkey bars and snags an arm in the bars on the way down. It's not a common injury for children, but it can happen.

Should I try to "pop it back in"?

No, never try to reposition a bone yourself. This can easily cause additional damage to surrounding tissues – and it will cause your child more pain.

If you can, support the arm and shoulder in whatever position they're in by making a sling out of a piece of cloth. Apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling and pain, and take your child to an emergency room immediately. Don't give him anything to eat or drink, in case he needs surgery or sedation.

If your child shows any signs of shock – if he appears pale or his skin feels clammy, his pupils are dilated, he's staring blankly, or his heartbeat is rapid – call 911.

What will happen at the hospital?

A doctor will examine your child. An X-ray may be taken to make sure nothing is fractured and an MRI may be done to evaluate the damage to the surrounding tissue. The doctor may sedate your child, then return the bone to its proper position and immobilize the arm with a sling, splint, or cast, depending on the injury.

If the bone can't be repositioned or the damage involves nerves or blood vessels, surgery may be necessary.

The doctor will probably advise you to help your child rest at home, put ice on the area, and give your child medication to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Special exercises may be recommended to help strengthen the surrounding muscles.

How can I prevent this from happening to my child?

Take precautions to keep your child from suffering a bad fall. Review basic safety measures and keep an eye out for potential hazards, like slippery area rugs and items on stairways that might cause him to trip.

Make sure an adult "spots" your child on playground equipment he might fall from (like monkey bars), that the equipment isn't too crowded, and that he doesn't use that kind of equipment when it's wet.

Once your child is old enough to play contact sports, make sure he wears the proper protective gear.

Note that once your child has dislocated his shoulder he'll be more susceptible to dislocating it again. So you'll want to make certain that he does any prescribed exercises to strengthen the area and take precautions to protect him from a repeat injury.

Watch the video: Dislocated Shoulder Symptoms (May 2022).