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How do shoulder dislocations and separations differ?

When Louisiana residents are involved in accidents, the shoulder is usually particularly susceptible to injury. It can handle a lot of pressure, but sometimes the strain placed on it can be too much for it to bear and it can become severely damaged.

Two different types of shoulder injuries you may face are shoulder dislocations and shoulder separations. The Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence has an article explaining the difference between shoulder separation and dislocation. Not only do they occur in different parts of the shoulder, but they also require entirely different treatment methods, making it impossible to treat them interchangeably.

Shoulder separation will always occur at the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. In a case of shoulder separation, the clavicle is torn completely away from the acromion. Because of the severity of the injury, it's also common for ligaments and muscles in the surrounding area to be torn. This type of injury typically happens if you suffer from an overhead blow to the shoulder, or if you fall onto your outstretched hand.

On the other hand, shoulder dislocation involves the glenohumeral joint. The humerus bone is displaced from the glenoid, or shoulder socket, in this type of injury. Because of its severity, the dislocated arm usually starts to swell immediately and involves a lot of pain. You'll likely have difficulties moving the affected arm, as well. All connective tissue can be damaged in a dislocation, including bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.

Both types of injury can be painful. If left untreated, both can also continue to deteriorate and make using your arm properly very difficult. For that reason, immediate medical attention and care is important to your recovery.

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