Which clinical history findings are characteristic of shoulder dislocation?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018
  • Author: Sharon R Wilson, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Patients with shoulder dislocation generally complain of severe shoulder pain and an associated decreased range of motion of the affected extremity. [5]

Mechanisms of injury are usually traumatic but may vary. Mechanisms may include sports, assaults, falls, seizures, throwing an object, reaching to catch an object, forceful pulling on the arm, reaching for an object, turning over in bed, or combing hair.

Patients may have a history of recurrent ED visits for the same complaint.

Specific mechanisms or historical facts may be suggestive of certain types of dislocations, such as lightning injuries, electrical injuries, and seizure with posterior dislocations; throwing a ball or a punch or forceful pulling of the arm with an anterior dislocation; and axial loading of an extremely abducted arm with inferior dislocation.

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