Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size

Shoulder Dislocation Treatment

Call 911 if:

  • The injury was caused by a severe blow.
  • The person's pulse is weak or the arm and hand are numb, cold, pale, or blue.

  • The injury was caused by a severe blow.
  • The person's pulse is weak or the arm and hand are numb, cold, pale, or blue.

1. Go to a Hospital Emergency Room

2. Immobilize Shoulder

  • Do not force arm to move.
  • Place pillow or rolled blanket between upper arm and chest.
  • Wrap towel around the person's upper body to bind arm to it.
  • Otherwise, if comfortable to do so, put the affected forearm in a sling with elbow at 90° angle.

3. Control Swelling

  • Apply ice pack for 20 minutes 4 to 8 times a day. Do not place ice directly against the skin.

4. Follow Up

  • The doctor may manipulate the shoulder to put it back in place.
  • The doctor may recommend wearing a sling for several weeks.
  • Give medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain and swelling.  Avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs if the person has heart failure or kidney failure.
  • If shoulder continues to dislocate, surgery may be required.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 21, 2013

First Aid A-Z

  • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

Today on WebMD

Antibiotic on hand
Slideshow
3d scan of fractured skull
Slideshow
 
Father putting ointment on boy's face
Slideshow
Person taking food from oven
Q&A
 
sniffling child
Slideshow
wound care true or false
Slideshow
 
caring for wounds
Slideshow
Harvest mite
Slideshow
 

WebMD the app

Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Find Out More