Dislocation of Glenohumeral Joint

content of this page

1- Introduction

2- Anatomical Overview

3- Treatment

4- purposes 


is a condition where the upper arm bone (humerus) pops out of the shoulder socket (glenoid). This often occurs due to a sudden injury or trauma, causing severe pain and limited shoulder movement. Shoulder dislocations are common and can recur, especially in young and active individuals. Prompt medical attention is essential to safely relocate the shoulder joint and prevent further complications.

© image from Moore's Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Anatomical Overview

Because of its freedom of movement and instability, the glenohumeral joint is commonly dislocated by direct or indirect injury. Because the presence of the coraco-acromial arch and support of the rotator cuff are effective in preventing upward dislocation, most dislocations of the humeral head occur in the
downward (inferior) direction. However, they are described clinically as anterior or (more rarely) posterior dislocations, indicating whether the humeral head has descended anterior or posterior to the infraglenoid
tubercle and long head of the triceps. The head ends up lying anterior or posterior to the glenoidcavity.Anterior dislocation of the glenohumeral joint occurs most often in young adults, particularly athletes. It is usually caused by excessive extension and lateral rotation of the humerus . The head of the humerus is driven infero-anteriorly.


X-ray About Dislocation of Glenohumeral Joint


Treatment for a dislocated shoulder involves putting the joint back in place, easing pain and swelling, and restoring shoulder movement. Here’s a simplified overview:

  1. Putting the Joint Back in Place:

    • A doctor can gently maneuver the shoulder back into position, sometimes with medication to relax you.
    • In some cases, surgery may be needed to fix the joint.
  2. Rest and Immobilization:

    • After the joint is back in place, your shoulder may be put in a sling to rest and heal.
  3. Pain Relief:

    • Pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage pain and swelling.
    • Applying ice packs can also reduce swelling and pain.
  4. Physical Therapy:

    • Once the pain and swelling go down, physical therapy can help you regain strength and movement in your shoulder.
    • The therapist will teach you exercises to improve your shoulder’s flexibility and strength.
  5. Preventing Future Dislocations:

    • Strengthening exercises and lifestyle changes can help prevent future dislocations.
    • In some cases, surgery may be needed to stabilize the shoulder if dislocations keep happening.


  • The purpose of treating a dislocated shoulder is to:

    • Relieve pain and discomfort.
    • Restore the shoulder joint to its normal position.
    • Prevent further damage to the joint and surrounding structures.
    • Regain shoulder strength, stability, and range of motion.
    • Minimize the risk of future dislocations.
    • Enable the individual to return to normal activities and sports safely.


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