Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Depending on the severity of the injury, your family doctor or the emergency room physician may recommend that you or your child be examined by an orthopedic surgeon.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of the symptoms and the precipitating event
- Information about past medical problems
- All the medications and dietary supplements you or your child takes
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For a dislocated shoulder, some basic questions to ask include:
- Do I have a dislocated shoulder?
- What kind of tests do I need?
- What treatment approach do you recommend? Are there any alternatives?
- How long will it take for my shoulder to heal?
- Will I have to give up participating in sports activities?
- How can I protect myself from re-injuring my shoulder in the future?
What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will inspect the affected area for tenderness, swelling or deformity. He or she will probably want to see X-rays of the injury.
The doctor may also ask you several questions, such as:
- How did you injure your shoulder?
- How severe is your pain?
- What other symptoms are you experiencing?
- Can you move your arm at all?
- Do you feel numbness or tingling in your arm?
- Have you had a dislocated shoulder in the past?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Sherman SC, et al. Shoulder dislocation and reduction. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Ronai P. Exercise and shoulder pain. American College of Sports Medicine. http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Current_Comments1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=11050. Accessed July 20, 2011.
- Rudzinski JP, et al. Shoulder and humerus injuries. In: Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=612479. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Coleman R, et al. Orthopedic emergencies. In: Stone CK, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3102784. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Dodson CC, et al. Anterior glenohumeral joint dislocations. Orthopedic Clinics of North America. 2008;39:507.
- Quillen DM, et al. Acute shoulder injuries. American Family Physician. 2004;70:1947.
- Questions and answers about shoulder problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Shoulder_Problems/default.asp. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Zacchilli MA, et al. Epidemiology of shoulder dislocations presenting to emergency departments in the United States. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2010;92:542.