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Helpful Resources

Dislocated Shoulder

What is a dislocated shoulder?

Your shoulder joint is made up of three bones: your collarbone, your shoulder blade, and your upper arm bone. The top of your upper arm bone is shaped like a ball. This ball fits into a cuplike socket in your shoulder blade. A shoulder dislocation is an injury that happens when the ball pops out of your socket. A dislocation may be partial, where the ball is only partially out of the socket. It can also be a full dislocation, where the ball is completely out of the socket.

What causes a dislocated shoulder?

Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They are also the most commonly dislocated joints.

The most common causes of shoulder dislocations are:

  • Sports injuries
  • Accidents, including traffic accidents
  • Falling on your shoulder or outstretched arm
  • Seizures and electric shocks, which can cause muscle contractions that pull the arm out of place
Who is at risk for a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder can happen to anyone, but they are more common in young men, who are more often involved in sports and other physical activities. Older adults, especially women, are also at higher risk because they are more likely to fall.

What are the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder?

The symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Severe shoulder pain
  • Swelling and bruising of your shoulder or upper arm
  • Numbness and/or weakness in your arm, neck, hand, or fingers
  • Trouble moving your arm
  • Your arm seems to be out of place
  • Muscle spasms in your shoulder

If you are having these symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

How is a dislocated shoulder diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will take a medical history and examine your shoulder. Your provider may also ask you to get an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

What are the treatments for a dislocated shoulder?

The treatment for dislocated shoulder usually involves three steps:

  • The first step is a closed reduction, a procedure in which your health care provider puts the ball of your upper arm back into the socket. You may first get medicine to relieve the pain and relax your shoulder muscles. Once the joint is back in place, the severe pain should end.
  • The second step is wearing a sling or other device to keep your shoulder in place. You will wear it for a few days to several weeks.
  • The third step is rehabilitation, once the pain and swelling have improved. You will do exercises to improve your range of motion and strengthen your muscles.

You may need surgery if you injure the tissues or nerves around the shoulder or if you get repeated dislocations.

A dislocation can make your shoulder unstable. When that happens, it takes less force to dislocate it. This means that there is a higher risk of it happening again. Your health care provider may ask you to continue doing some exercises to prevent another dislocation.

Dislocations

Dislocations are joint injuries that force the ends of your bones out of position. The cause is often a fall or a blow, sometimes from playing a contact sport. You can dislocate your ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, elbows and jaw. You can also dislocate your finger and toe joints. Dislocated joints often are swollen, very painful and visibly out of place. You may not be able to move it.

A dislocated joint is an emergency. If you have one, seek medical attention. Treatment depends on which joint you dislocate and the severity of the injury. It might include manipulations to reposition your bones, medicine, a splint or sling, and rehabilitation. When properly repositioned, a joint will usually function and move normally again in a few weeks. Once you dislocate a shoulder or kneecap, you are more likely to dislocate it again. Wearing protective gear during sports may help prevent dislocations.

Exercise for Older Adults

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. There are four main types and each type is different. Doing them all will give you more benefits.:

  • Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. Brisk walking or jogging, dancing, swimming, and biking are examples.
  • Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Lifting weights or using a resistance band can build strength.
  • Balance exercises help prevent falls
  • Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber

If you have not been active, you can start slowly and work up to your goal. How much exercise you need depends on your age and health. Check with your health care provider on what is right for you.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

Fainting

Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. If you're about to faint, you'll feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Your field of vision may "white out" or "black out." Your skin may be cold and clammy. You lose muscle control at the same time, and may fall down.

Fainting usually happens when your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing a decrease in blood flow to your brain. It is more common in older people. Some causes of fainting include:

  • Heat or dehydration
  • Emotional distress
  • Standing up too quickly
  • Certain medicines
  • Drop in blood sugar
  • Heart problems

When someone faints, make sure that the airway is clear and check for breathing. The person should stay lying down for 10-15 minutes. Most people recover completely. Fainting is usually nothing to worry about, but it can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem. If you faint, it's important to see your health care provider and find out why it happened.

Hair Problems

The average person has 5 million hairs. Hair grows all over your body except on your lips, palms, and the soles of your feet. It takes about a month for healthy hair to grow half an inch. Most hairs grow for up to six years and then fall out. New hairs grow in their place.

Hair helps keep you warm. It also protects your eyes, ears and nose from small particles in the air. Common problem with the hair and scalp include hair loss, infections, and flaking.