Disjointed – The Shoulder

     Many of the techniques in BJJ such as the americana, kimura, and omoplata, attack the shoulder joint.  They are designed to incapacitate an attacker by dislocating the shoulder.  Thereby rendering their arm useless.     Shoulder dislocations constitute a large percentage of joint related emergency room visits.  A shoulder typically dislocates in one of three directions.  Anteriorly (forward), posteriorly (backward), or inferiorly (downward).  The most common shoulder dislocation is anterior.  Posterior dislocations account for about four percent of shoulder dislocations and may go undiagnosed for an extended time.  Inferior dislocations are the rarest, but may have a higher incidence of damage to surrounding anatomical structures and tissues.

     The surrounding anatomical structures and tissues that may be damaged are bone, the joint capsule, rotator cuff, axillary (armpit) artery, veins, as well as the nerves that service the arm.  Rotator cuff tears are seen in a significant number of shoulder dislocations.  Many rotator cuff tears are diagnosed months after the initial injury.  Arterial injuries are more common in older people and venous injuries may take days to reveal themselves.  Most neurologic injuries resolve themselves within six months.  On rare occasions, blood may collect in the shoulder joint.  If this occurs, it causes swelling and pain in the joint within the first two days after the dislocation is reset.  The recurrence of shoulder dislocations is more common in people under 20 years of age.  Males have a higher rate of recurrence than women.  Depending on the history of the patient, the type and severity of trauma surrounding the dislocation, surgery may be required.  However, less severe dislocations may be treated in the emergency room.

     After the extremity is reset, it will need to be immobilized for a time.  The length of immobilization is dependent upon the severity of the dislocation, age of the patient and whether or not the joint has been dislocated before.  A follow-up visit with an orthopedic surgeon may be suggested by the emergency room physician.

     If you have any concerns about your health and or well-being, please seek the counsel of a trained professional.  Don’t depend on the ramblings of a crazy little blogger nobody, such as myself.


Sineff, Sanford Scot, Reichmann, Eric F., Simon, Robert R. Emergency Medicine Procedures:  Chapter 67, Shoulder Joint Dislocation Reduction.  McGraw-Hill Professional, 2004

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5 Responses to Disjointed – The Shoulder

  1. It is good to mention this information. Shoulder injuries are incapacitating to say the least. I hurt both of mine in a 2 week period before and had never felt weaker in my life. I healed but I learned a lesson about allowing my body to heal and not overdoing it.

  2. Pingback: Disjointed – The Kneecap | Combat Sports Review Blog

  3. Pingback: Disjointed – The Knee | Combat Sports Review Blog

  4. Pingback: A Butt Grabbing Badass Status!!! | Combat Sports Review Blog

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