Shoulder Dislocation

What is a shoulder dislocation?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. A shoulder dislocation is when the ball (the head of the humerus bone) comes out of the socket (the glenoid cavity). Unlike the other ball and socket joint in the body – the hip – the shoulder socket is quite shallow.

The shoulder is one of the most commonly dislocated joints in the body. Dislocation is more common in men than women and tends to occur for different reasons. In men, it occurs mainly in 20–30 year olds due to contact sports. Shoulder dislocations in women typically occur in the 60–80 year old age group, due to falls.

When the shoulder dislocates, the tissues of the joint capsule that hold the shoulder in place are stretched or torn so even when the shoulder is put back into the place, it may remain loose. This makes it possible to repeatedly dislocate.

For more information on repeatedly dislocating your shoulder (shoulder instability), click here.