Did I dislocate my shoulder? Do I need surgery?

by kristian
(san marcos, TX, USA)

When I was 18, my first shoulder problem occurred was when I was boxing a friend (high school) and swung hard with a right. My friend dodged the punch and I completely whiffed. I felt my right shoulder "pop" when my arm was fully extended on the punch and it felt like my arm "popped" right back into place after a split second.

I felt immediate pain and discomfort but continued to play sports (basketball and tennis) throughout the year (2004-05). During some bball games and tennis matches my shoulder seemed to "pop" in an out on certain occasions (blocked shot or serve or overhead) with immediate pain but continued to play.

There have been many occasions since this injury has happened and I have been to several doctors for answers and it seems like I just get a "you will be ok speech" and prescribed some meds for the pain.

I am 22 years old now and play in a (contact) football league where I went for a tackle and landed with my right arm in an upward bicep flexing position when I hit the ground and immediately felt pain. I felt a "pop" in my shoulder and had no mobility for about three minutes until it was "popped" back in slowly by a paramedic.

Does this mean I dislocated my shoulder or was it a strain? I have had a weak shoulder for four years and it always seemed to "come out" and back in immediately with pain. This happened yesterday and is the first time my shoulder has stayed "out" for a duration and I am still hurting pretty bad.

Do I need surgery?

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Nov 08, 2008
shoulder subluxation
by: Bart - SII

It sounds like you are describing a shoulder subluxation - where the humerus partially dislocates from the glenoid, and then returns to the normal position with movement.

That likely means you have either looseness in your shoulder capsule and ligaments, and/or a tear in your labrum, which will cause instability.

I would recommend seeing an orthopedist for an evaluation and to determine your best options for treatment. You may be able to get by with some dedicated shoulder rehabilitation, or surgery may be your best option. You likely will need diagnostics (like an MRI) to figure out exactly what is going on and what will work best for your full recovery.

Bart

Nov 11, 2009
The same thing happened to me!
by: SarahS

As a child I remember getting into a fight with my older sister (this was NOT the norm). I wanted to punch her and missed because my shoulder seemed to pop out and I had to move my arm to get it back in. I was quite young and it was not sore afterwards.
Recently an incident occured and I did the same thing, but this time it was both arms. I moved my arms around and they poped back in. 3 days later one arm is almost back to normal, but I still cant lift the other one without pain!

Dec 22, 2010
Did I dislocate my shoulder? Do I need surgery?
by: Anonymous

i have the same problem but with my left arm it only seems when i make a quick movement forward it pops out but its random (dont happen all the time) the first time it happened i was very little and doing swimming for a club , doing backstroke and it came out and got stuck but that same second it freed it self , it also happened alot more few years back while doing kickboxing. But thru out the years i have noticed that i can actually on purpose pull my shoulder outta its socket and i used to sleep with both arms under my pillow which stretched my shoulders (but i didnt feel anything) so all i do now it vistit the gym alot and use weights on my shoulders hoping it tightens the joint up

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