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Shoulder Dislocations a Sports Hazard

Young men most at risk, but elderly women are too, study finds

THURSDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Sports are the most common cause of shoulder dislocation, and young males have the highest risk of suffering this type of injury, a new study shows.

Researchers studied 8,940 shoulder dislocations treated at 100 hospital emergency rooms across the United States from 2002 to 2006 and found that the overall incidence rate was 23.9 shoulder dislocations per 100,000 person years (the number of years times the number of members of a population affected by a certain condition).

The study author also found that: 71.8 percent of shoulder dislocations occurred in men; 46.8 percent were in patients aged 15 to 29; 48.3 percent occurred during sports or recreation; and 37 percent of all sports-related injuries occurred while playing football or basketball.

The majority of dislocations were caused by a fall. Of those falls, 47.7 percent occurred at home and 33.6 percent occurred at sports or recreation sites. Among women, those aged 80 to 90 had higher shoulder dislocation rates, mostly because of falls at home.

"We were not too surprised to find the high number of young males dislocating their shoulders during athletic activity. However, the rate of shoulder dislocations among elderly women was higher than we had previously assumed," study co-author Dr. Brett Owens, an orthopedic surgeon at Keller Army Hospital in West Point, N.Y., and an associate professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, said in a news release.

The study appears in the March issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Symptoms of shoulder dislocation include pain, swelling, numbness, weakness and bruising. A shoulder dislocation can tear ligaments or tendons in the shoulder and may cause nerve damage.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about shoulder problems.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, news release, March 1, 2010

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