Many people are confused with separated shoulder and dislocated shoulder injuries. These types of shoulder injuries are two distinct injuries. In most cases, dislocated shoulder occurs, when the arm bone is separated from its socket cause by accidents.
While separated shoulder happens when there is a tear or stretch in one or more of the ligaments in the shoulder joint. Shoulder problems are generally experienced by professional players and athletes because of their extreme physical movements.
In dislocated shoulder injury, the top of the arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket because of intense fall or blow. The shoulder joint is very mobile and quite different from the other joints of the body. The upper arm can be twisted and moved in different directions unlike the other joints in the body such as the elbow and knee.
The ease of movement of the shoulder makes the shoulder joint naturally unstable, which can slip, out of place. In instances where dislocated shoulder is serious, the nerves and tissues in the shoulder joint are damaged. When the shoulder is dislocated very often, one can end up with chronic instability and weakness.
The separated shoulder injury, on the other hand, does not directly affect the shoulder joint. Because of a blow or fall, a tear or stretch occurs in the ligaments that joins the shoulder blade and collarbone. When this happens, the collarbone has a tendency to move out of place and thrust against the skin next to the top of the shoulder. Separated shoulder can result to deformity, but people normally recover fully afterwards.
Dislocated shoulder or separated shoulder might be caused by falling into the shoulder, particularly in surfaces that are solid and hard, being knocked in the shoulder, or avoiding a fall using your hand. Sports with heavy movement such as soccer, rugby, volleyball, and football pose high risk to these shoulder injuries.
More About Separated Shoulder
Even though it is one of the most common athletic injuries, a separated shoulder or shoulder separation is not actually an injury to the shoulder. Instead, it is an injury to the acromioclavicular joint which is why it is sometimes called an AC injury.
The AC is where the collarbone or clavicle is attached to the highest point of the shoulder blade or acromion. Instead of the shoulder being separated, what happens is that the ligaments surrounding the AC get strained or torn. This separation of the collarbone or wingbone injury can be minor or serious and can involve a lot of pain or minimal pain. It can also involve deformity.
A mild shoulder separation is simply a sprain of the AC ligament that may heal. It is usually not noticeable on an x-ray and it isn’t that painful. This kind of injury often heals on its own. The most serious injury occurs when the ligaments get torn which actually does cause the shoulder to separate.
Dislocated Shoulder and Separated Shoulder
There is a difference between a dislocated shoulder and a separated shoulder that you should be aware of. A dislocated shoulder occurs when an injury or strain causes the top of a person’s arm bone to pop out of the shoulder socket.
Unlike the separation, the dislocation is a serious injury to the shoulder. You will need to see a doctor and get an x-ray. Both injuries can occur at the same time or from the same causes.
One problem is that in a dislocated shoulder there are often injuries to the ligaments and muscle around the socket that are similar to those in the dislocation. Both are equally painful and cause you to lose strength or function in the arm.
Causes of Separated Shoulder
This kind of injury usually occurs after a fall or a bad jolt. It is common in football players, bicyclists and people that work in certain fields. Persons who put a lot of strain on their shoulders can face this kind of injury.
A blow to the shoulder can also cause this kind of injury. It isn’t uncommon for people who have been in car accidents or suffered from falls to have this kind of injury. Something to be aware of is that you may not feel the injury right away. It often takes a while to become aware of the injury.
Falling on your shoulder or blocking a fall with your hand can cause this kind of injury. So can being hit on the shoulder.
Always be careful after you have a fall or take a blow especially a tough one. People who play contact sports like football or rugby, people who dive into swimming pools and wrestlers and martial artists should be especially careful.
Something else to remember is that you can get this kind of injury from a fairly minor accident or blow. The amount of damage often depends on the angle of the blow or your position rather than the force used. In many cases, people can avoid injury in a serious blow but suffer a nasty separation after a short fall.