By Francis M. Smith
Dislocated shoulder injuries sometimes appear in fictional media like television and movies, and the injured action-hero usually resolves the injury by popping the bones back into place themselves. This serves to underscore how tough the character is – but in a real-life situation in which you have sustained a dislocated shoulder injury as a result of a car crash or other accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment, as dislocations can result in damage to the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the joint. Some types of soft tissue injuries associated with shoulder dislocation may require surgery to resolve, and improper or incomplete treatment of the injury may result in a condition known as adhesive capsulitis, or "frozen shoulder."
The shoulder works by means of a ball-and-socket joint, which allows the arm to move forward and backward, up and down, and around in the full range of motion that most people usually experience. When a dislocation injury occurs, the rounded end of the humerus, or upper arm bone, is forced out of the socket, resulting in pain, swelling, and impaired mobility of the arm. Other dislocation injuries that affect the shoulder may involve the clavicle, or collar bone, becoming dislocated at either end. Damage to the bones or soft tissues surrounding the joint may also be involved, especially if the injury is the result of the sort of physical trauma that occurs in a serious car accident.