A shoulder dislocation is something no parent wants to have to deal with. However, these injuries are surprisingly common, since the shoulder is the second most likely joint to suffer a dislocation. This is especially true if your child is particularly active or involved in organized sports. But what exactly should you do if you think your child may have suffered one? Let’s discuss everything from minimizing the potential harm of a suspected dislocation to reducing the odds of a repeat occurrence. We’ll also share tips on how to tell if you’re dealing with a dislocated shoulder.
Determine If It May Actually Be a Dislocation
A good way to tell if you’re dealing with a possible shoulder dislocation is to look at your child’s shoulder and back. If one is square while the other is round or they’re now uneven, you may be dealing with a dislocation. The dislocation may not be obvious to an untrained observer, but there are other symptoms to look out for. If the child has trouble moving the arm, it may be dislocated – or there is another serious injury that requires medical attention as well. If the child’s shoulders look off and there is tingling or pain in the arm, they need to be assessed by a medical professional.
Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious and mistaken for a sprain or strain. A dislocated shoulder can cause swelling of the shoulder, bruising, pain, deformity, numbness and muscle spasms in the shoulder. If the issue isn’t resolved by ice and rest, get a professional medical opinion.
Immobilize the Joint
If it is indeed a dislocation, the first thing you should do is immobilize the arm in the position it is in. You don’t want to stretch, rub and otherwise move the shoulder, since that can worsen the damage that may have been done. A sling is helpful in situations like these, since it is the right course of action whether you’re dealing with a dislocation or broken bone.
Seek Qualified Medical Attention
Despite what you may have seen in the movies, a shoulder dislocation is not something you can treat via first aid or a quick trick. If a mistake is made, it could affect your child’s ability to use the arm for the rest of their life; if you try to treat it yourself, you could cause nerve damage or the surrounding muscles. For that reason, you want qualified medical attention that can address the problem as soon as possible. Specialized clinics like the Urgency Room have short wait times and offer exceptional healthcare. They can identify the signs of a dislocation and treat it both quickly and correctly.
There’s another reason to visit an urgent care center, and that’s the diagnostic methods they have at their disposal. They’ll be able to take X-rays of the shoulder and determine if the shoulder is dislocated or a bone in its vicinity is broken. If it is only dislocated, they’ll be able to restore it to its proper location and properly immobilize it so the body can heal.
Shoulder dislocations are serious injuries that require prompt, qualified medical attention. Try to treat it yourself directly or indirectly through first aid, and you’ll risk serious long-term problems.