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What is Subluxation?

The shoulder is a highly mobile ball and socket joint. The ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) is held in place at the socket (glenoid) of the shoulder blade (scapula) by a group of ligaments. A partial dislocation of the shoulder joint is termed as a subluxation. This means the ball has partially moved out of the glenoid as opposed to a dislocation, where the ball completely moves out of the glenoid. 

Causes of Subluxation

Subluxation usually occurs from falls or a direct blow to your shoulder. It can also be caused due to a previous shoulder injury or if the ligaments in your shoulder are loose. Subluxations tend to recur due to laxity in the ligaments.

Symptoms of Subluxation

Subluxation of the shoulder includes the following symptoms:

  • A feeling that your shoulder has moved out of place
  • Pain, numbness or weakness of the injured shoulder
  • A feeling of looseness of the shoulder

Diagnosis of Subluxation

Subluxation of the shoulder is diagnosed by a review of your medical history and symptoms, and a thorough physical examination of your shoulder. Your doctor may also recommend X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and identify any fractures of the shoulder joint.

Treatment for Subluxation

Subluxation of the shoulder is treated with rest, ice packs and NSAIDs to reduce the pain and inflammation. You may be referred to as physiotherapy for shoulder strengthening exercises to help prevent recurrence. Surgery may be required to repair the ligaments if conservative treatment measures do not prevent further subluxations.

  • NHS
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • 
British Elbow & Shoulder Society
  • University of Warwick
  • Swor and D

Hospitals Attended

  • Stratford Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Arden St, Stratford-upon-Avon,
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • Nuffield Health
    Warwickshire Hospital

    The Chase, Old Milverton Lane
    Leamington Spa
    CV32 6RW
    Driving Directions


  • Warwick Hospital

    South Warwickshire
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Lakin Road, Warwick,
    CV34 5BW
    Driving Directions


    Ext 4798
  • The Grafton Suite,
    Building One

    Stratford Hospital, Arden Street
    Stratford-upon-Avon
    CV37 6NX
    Driving Directions


  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nuffield Health
  • 
The Grafton Suite - South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust