Shoulder Dislocation (cont.)
Exams and Tests
After taking a history (time of injury, how it happened, prior serious health problems or injuries), the doctor may do a brief general exam followed by a more detailed exam of the injured shoulder.
- The deltoid muscle (the round muscle covering the shoulder joint) may appear to be flatter on the injured side when compared to the healthy side. Any movement of the arm may cause pain in the shoulder.
- The pulse at the wrist, touch sensation, and hand movement are usually normal. (Damage to nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and muscles can occur. These injuries can be difficult to diagnose because you are incapacitated by the dislocation.)
- A set of shoulder X-rays is usually standard in diagnosing a shoulder dislocation. They are used to determine the presence of a dislocation, and also to check for other injuries (such as a fracture of the upper humerus or tearing of the ligaments connecting the collarbone to the shoulder blade).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2014
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