The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body. Because of this, consulting with a shoulder specialist is critical to ensure you are treating the root of your condition rather than surface-level symptoms. Dr. Michael Bercik is an orthopedic shoulder surgeon located near Willow Street, PA, who has years of experience helping patients every step from diagnosis through to recovery. 

Shoulder Specialist Willow Street, PADr. Michael Bercik is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with subspecialty training in orthopedic shoulder surgery, elbow surgery, and elbow traumatology. To enhance his medical training and expand his skill set, Dr. Bercik followed his residency program in orthopedic surgery with three fellowships. One of these fellowships was here in Pennsylvania at the Rothman Institute, while his two additional fellowships were located at world-renowned institutions: the Centre Orthopédique Santy in France and the Melbourne Shoulder and Elbow Centre and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. These experiences allowed Dr. Bercik to expand his skill set beyond traditional methods and offer his patients innovative techniques to treat complex conditions.

What is shoulder subluxation?

Shoulder subluxation is the partial shoulder dislocation that happens when the humerus (upper arm bone) partially moves out of the shoulder socket. This often happens when the ligaments, shoulder joint lining, or labrum become stretched. This leads the joint to be unstable and increases the likelihood of the humerus sliding out of place. Subluxation can be thought of as a partial shoulder dislocation.

How does shoulder subluxation happen?

Shoulder subluxation can happen for several reasons. Genetics, daily wear and tear, or impact to the shoulder joint can lead to shoulder subluxation. Certain sports or previous subluxations increase the risk of future subluxation. For example, tennis and basketball players have heightened risk from overuse of ligaments in the shoulder.  

What are the symptoms of shoulder subluxation?

Patients who experience shoulder subluxation often describe arm weakness, shoulder instability, swelling, pain, and a feeling that their shoulder is going to “give way.” Subluxation can cause damage to surrounding soft tissues, so it is best to have a doctor check the injury to rule out or prevent any complications from arising. 

How do you treat shoulder subluxation?

For most patients, the shoulder bone returns to normal alignment on its own. However, if it does not, do not force the shoulder back into place by yourself. In these cases, it is best to have a medical professional treat the area.

Once the shoulder is back in position, immediate care usually involves pain medication, ice, and resting the shoulder. This is done to alleviate pain and swelling. Your orthopedic shoulder specialist may order imaging exams, such as X-rays or MRIs, to visualize the damage to the tissue. This can inform care decisions to minimize recovery times. Most patients do not need surgery.

Following a subluxation, your orthopedic doctor will likely recommend that you immobilize the shoulder for 2-4 weeks to allow for healing and prevent further damage to the area. You will then be recommended a physical therapy plan to strengthen and stabilize the area. The length and design of this program will depend on your individual condition, lifestyle, and previous injuries. 

Let’s work together!

Dr. Bercik and our team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group have spent years learning the latest methodologies in orthopedic shoulder care. If you are looking for a shoulder specialist near Willow Street, PA, schedule an appointment today for a comprehensive consultation. To schedule your first appointment, use the “Schedule An Appointment” link in the top right of the website or by calling (866) 564-1000.