What Every Parent Should Know About A Dislocated Shoulder

Posted on: 26 December 2015

When the upper portion of the bone in your arm is shifted out of the socket at your shoulder, it's referred to as a shoulder dislocation. Usually the result of a fall or a blow to the shoulder, it can be quite painful. Kids are susceptible to this type of injury from sports, playground time and other recreational activities. If your child is complaining of shoulder pain, here's what you should know to spot and address a dislocated shoulder right away.


If you haven't ever experienced a dislocated shoulder, you likely wouldn't know the symptoms and wouldn't be able to spot the problem as easily for your child. In most situations, a dislocated shoulder will swell around the shoulder area, become inflamed and warm to the touch, and be painful for your child.

He or she may say that it hurts to move the affected arm, or it may actually feel somewhat numb if the bone is pinching a nerve. You may also notice redness or bruising on the shoulder. In some severe dislocations, you might even be able to see the change in your child's arm position. His or her arm may be sitting a little lower and at a slightly awkward angle.

Treatment Options

If you suspect that your child may have a dislocated shoulder, it's important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you cannot reach your child's pediatrician, consider visiting the local urgent care instead. You can manage swelling by applying an ice pack to the shoulder in the meantime.

The urgent care doctors will need to reset the bone joint so that the shoulder is back in its proper place. In order to do this safely, the doctors may suggest sedating your child. Re+positioning the shoulder joint can be painful, so this may be in his or her best interest. Once re-positioned, your child will need to keep the arm immobilized in a sling until it heals.

You'll want to keep an eye on that shoulder over time, because once it's been dislocated, it can weaken the overall integrity of the joint. This might make your child more vulnerable to dislocating it in the future.

If your child is showing any of these signs, reach out to your local urgent care facility right away for proper treatment, then follow up with your child's pediatrician to see about physical therapy or any further needs.