As your body’s most mobile joint, you rely on your shoulder to throw and reach. The ball-and-socket joint is impressively flexible, and you use it every day.
Shoulder dislocations are among the most common sports injuries and can affect athletes at all levels. Not all dislocated shoulders happen in sports, but athletes who play football, hockey, and other contact sports should know their risk. Even if you aren’t an athlete, learning about first aid for a dislocated shoulder might come in handy in the future.
Our experienced team at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants in Merrillville and Crown Point, Indiana, specializes in sports medicine and rehabilitation. We see dislocated shoulders regularly and provide the professional care these injuries require for a swift and complete recovery. Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants serves the Northwest Indiana region, including the communities of Munster, St. John, and Dyer.
The first indication that you’ve dislocated your shoulder is shoulder pain followed by immobility or instability. In the following minutes and hours, the steps you take can alleviate the pain while setting you up for a hasty evaluation and successful treatment. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Arrange for medical help
If you dislocate your shoulder during a sporting event, there may be medics on hand to handle the injury. Yet, that isn’t the case for every shoulder dislocation injury. No matter what, you need medical assistance immediately. Don’t try to pop your arm back into place on your own.
2. Immobilize the joint
When your shoulder pops out of its socket, you might not be able to move it. Get assistance to place your arm in a comfortable position. If you have access to a sling, use it to support your arm.
You can create your own sling by cutting or folding a large piece of cloth into a triangle shape, resting the arm in it, and tying the two ends around the opposite side of your neck. Your arm with the dislocated shoulder should rest at a 90-degree angle against your chest.
3. Apply an ice pack
Applying ice to your shoulder joint can alleviate your immediate pain while also reducing swelling. Placing ice directly on your skin can cause burns, so you should wrap the ice in a cloth, sack, or another barrier before applying it.
4. Manage your reaction
Acute injuries, like shoulder dislocations, happen suddenly and can cause shock. Shock is a natural reaction to traumatic injuries, blood loss, severe infections, and other significant medical complications. When it happens, your blood flow slows, and your organs struggle to get enough oxygen.
A shock reaction is serious and can cause organ damage and, in some cases, even death. Immediately after an injury like a dislocated shoulder, remain calm and cover up with a coat or blanket to stay warm and keep your blood flowing.
5. Get the professional care you need
When you first receive medical attention for your dislocated shoulder, a medical professional performs a closed reduction, which puts your arm back into the socket. The pain improves immediately after.
Next, it’s time to get on the road to recovery. Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy can make a significant difference in your symptoms and in restoring your full shoulder function.
Schedule a visit online or over the phone at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants to recover from your dislocated shoulder today.