What is the prevalence of shoulder dislocation?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018
  • Author: Sharon R Wilson, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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In the United States, the incidence of shoulder dislocations is 23.9 per 100,000 person years, and approximately 85-98% of shoulder dislocations are anterior dislocations. Dislocated shoulders tend to occur more often in males than in females. In males, the peak age of incidence is 20-30 years (with a male-to-female ratio of 9:1),  and in females it is 61-80 years (with a female-to-male ratio of 3:1). The incidence of proximal humerus fractures increases with age, with a population-adjusted incidence of 101 per 100,000 person years in those older than 65 years. [11]

Shoulder dislocation occurs more frequently in adolescents than in younger children because the weaker epiphyseal growth plates in children tend to fracture before dislocation occurs. In older adults, collagen fibers have fewer cross-links, making the joint capsule and supporting tendons and ligaments weaker and dislocation more likely. Anterior dislocation is most commonly seen in those aged 18-25 years due to sporting injury. The second most common age group to sustain anterior dislocation is in elderly persons because of their susceptibility to falls. [11]

A Danish study estimated the incidence of shoulder dislocation at 17 cases per 100,000. [14]  In a random sample of people in Sweden, 1.7% reported a history of shoulder dislocation. [15]  A Greek study examined the demographic data and recurrence rates of shoulder dislocations of 308 patients (170 men and 138 women) and found that the most frequent mechanism of injury was falling, and 92% of reductions were in the ED. The overall recurrence rate in all ages was 50% but rose to almost 89% in the 14-20 year age group. [4]

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