Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

The doctor will examine both shoulders, comparing your injured shoulder with your uninjured one. The doctor will check for swelling, shape changes, abrasions, bruising, pain when you move, tenderness and limited motion at the shoulder joint. The doctor will gently press and feel the area around your shoulder to locate the displaced head of the humerus under the skin. In addition, because many important blood vessels and nerves travel through your shoulder area, your doctor will check the strength of the pulses at your wrist and elbow and check your muscle strength and your response to touch on your arm, hand and fingers. In particular, your doctor will look for numbness on the outside of your upper arm, a sign of injury to the axillary nerve, which is vulnerable to injury in a shoulder dislocation.

If the results of your physical examination suggest that that you have a dislocated shoulder, your doctor will order shoulder X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

Page 3 of 9     Next Page:  Shoulder Dislocation Expected Duration
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.