Recognizing And Addressing A Dislocated Shoulder In Your Child

If your child has recently become active in sports, understanding his or her risk of a dislocated shoulder injury is important. Shoulder dislocation is an injury that occurs when your arm bone is knocked out of the shoulder socket. Here are a few things you should know about shoulder dislocation to help your child recover.

What Causes Dislocation?

Shoulder dislocation can be caused by many things, including a direct blow to the upper arm. That joint is a reasonably delicate one, so it wouldn't take a serious impact to cause significant discomfort. Kids who play football, hockey, basketball and similar activities can be at greater risk because of collisions during play. Shoulder dislocation can also occur as a result of a fall from playground equipment or an accident while skiing or biking.

How Can You Spot Dislocation?

If you've never had this kind of injury, you may not be familiar with the signs to spot it. Most dislocated shoulders will swell significantly, and they may even feel somewhat warm when you touch the affected area. Most kids will complain of shoulder pain, especially when they try to move or use that arm. In some cases, it can even cause numbness and redness in the arm and hand.

How Can You Treat Dislocation?

Treating dislocation requires the intervention of a health care professional or sports medicine doctor. Apply an ice pack right away to help minimize swelling, then take your child to a medical professional for an evaluation.

He or she will do a full examination, including an x-ray in most cases. Then, the doctor will need to return that joint to its proper position. In many cases, kids are sedated for this part of the treatment to help minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of movement or other issues during the treatment.

Most kids are sent home with a sling to support and immobilize the arm for a while to allow the shoulder to heal. Your sports medicine specialist may even suggest physical therapy if there's significant damage to the area. The physical therapy helps to maintain the muscle tone in the shoulder and preserves the range of motion during recovery.

Now that you know how this kind of injury can happen, how to spot it and what's done, you'll be in a better position to recognize the injury if your child sustains one. If you have reason to believe that your child's shoulder may be dislocated, apply ice and reach out to your doctor or a local sports medicine clinic like Interior Alaska Orthopedic & Sports Medicine as soon as possible.