A dislocated shoulder is not a common injury in toddlers, but can happen from a bad fall or twisting of the arm. The head of the humerus (arm bone) slips from the socket and tears ligaments and muscles. A dislocated shoulder can be fully or partially dislocated and is generally a very painful injury.
If you think your child has a dislocated shoulder, do not try to put it back in place yourself. You could cause more damage and more pain to your child. Support the arm and shoulder with a sling and take your child to the hospital right away.
The hospital will give your child an e-ray and will more than likely check other areas for injury such as the neck. A sedative is usually given prior to putting the shoulder back in place. Follow-up treatment will consist of rest, the use of ice packs, and physical therapy.
In some instances, the ligaments may not heal properly and surgery will be needed.
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