There’s nothing a child loves more than his playtime and play is a
particularly important part of your child’s overall growth and development. But
while engaging in playground play or contact sports there is also a risk of
injuries. Dislocations happen to be a commonly seen injury and incidentally the
most commonly dislocated joint is the shoulder.
A dislocation occurs when extreme force is put on a joint, like when the
child falls or takes a hit to the body while playing a contact sport. When this
happens the ligaments that are fibrous tissue that joins various bones and
cartilage could be torn. A child’s shoulder can get dislocated when the knobby head
of the upper arm bone slips out of its socket and stretches or tears the
supporting ligaments and surrounding muscles.
Your child’s shoulder may be partially or completely dislocated if he
has fallen on it or received a blow to the area. A shoulder dislocation though
is not common in younger children as their growth plates which are the areas at
the end of long bones where the bones grow is weaker than the muscles or
tendons. Shoulder dislocations happen more often among teens.
Every child may experience different symptoms but the most common among
them are pain, swelling, bruising or redness, numbness or weakness, deformity
or trouble using or moving the joint in a normal way. The important thing to
remember is to get a formal diagnosis from a specialist without delay and that
the parents should never try to reposition the bone. This will only put the
child in more excruciating pain when there is additional damage to the
A shoulder dislocation diagnosis can be done with a physical exam or
with the help of imaging techniques like X-ray or MRI. In the case that the injury is more
severe and the bone cannot be repositioned or if the damage involves nerves or
blood vessels, a surgery may be necessary. An MRI will be requested only if
surgical intervention is needed.
To set the shoulder dislocation right the child may be sedated before
the doctor can reposition the bone and immobilize the arm with a sling, splint,
or cast, depending on the extent of the injury. While taking the child to the
doctor try to support the arm and shoulder in whatever position they’re in by
making a sling out of a piece of cloth. Ice can be applied to reduce the
swelling and make sure the child isn’t given any food or drink in case a
surgery needs to be performed.
After the procedure the child will be required to rest and special exercises
may be recommended to help strengthen the surrounding muscles. The affected
shoulder must be placed in a sling for at least two to three weeks for adequate
healing. Once the sling is removed there shouldn’t be any pain but some
stiffness should be expected. Encourage the child to use the arm slowly and all
sports or rough activities should be avoided till the doctor gives a go ahead.