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What’s the Difference Between Shoulder Separation and Dislocation?

October 7, 2016

The shoulder is a complex piece of interlocking joints and muscles, and shoulder injuries may occur through abrupt trauma or through the natural wear and tear that comes with living life. But because the shoulder is so complicated, there are a number of different conditions that may present themselves. Two common ones are the separated shoulder and the dislocated shoulder; it is important to know the differences between them, so we’ve provided a handy guide to help you.

Dislocated Shoulder

The shoulder consists of a rounded joint that interlocks into a socket; this is one of the freest and most mobile joints in the body. This mobility also makes it susceptible to dislocation, though, which is when the joint has popped out of the socket. The dislocation may be partial or complete, and it presents itself with swelling, bruising, and weakness. Both a partial and total dislocation will be painful, but this pain should cease immediately after a doctor has pushed the joint back into the socket.

Separated Shoulder

A shoulder separation does not actually occur at the shoulder joint. Rather, it occurs at the AC joint, which is the joint slightly higher on the arm where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. Further, and the injury is actually to the ligaments connecting the bones. This injury is most commonly caused by a forceful fall directly on the shoulder. The injury is usually painful, but the level of pain will vary with the severity of the tear. It will, however, present itself with a noticeable bump on top of the shoulder itself. Depending on the extent of the deformity, the injury may be resolved non-surgically, but more severe cases may require shoulder surgery.

Dr. Anthony Romeo is Here to Help

Though they may be caused by similar kinds of incidences, as you can see, the symptoms of shoulder separations and shoulder dislocations are quite different, and knowing the differences can help you determine which injury you may be suffering from. But regardless of which injury you’ve sustained, Dr. Anthony Romeo, MD is here to help you. We offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, and we will work to quickly diagnosis your injury and determine an appropriate method of treatment.

Explore Treatment Options at Dr. Anthony Romeo, MD

If you’ve suffered or believe you may have suffered an orthopaedic injury, or you’d like more information about possible conditions and treatment options, contact us online today to schedule an appointment or ask us any questions you may have.