How to Know If You've Hyperextended Your Shoulder

Written by michelle zehr
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How to Know If You've Hyperextended Your Shoulder
Ice a hyperextended shoulder until you are able to seek medical attention. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A shoulder hyperextension is also known as a shoulder dislocation. When you hyperextend your shoulder, the upper arm bone -- or humerus -- has become dislocated from the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder known as the glenoid. A fall onto an extended arm, trauma such as an auto accident or a direct collision in sports can lead to shoulder hyperextension. This condition is painful and requires immediate medical attention.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Check for symptoms. You are likely to experience pain, swelling, bruising and numbness if you have dislocated your shoulder. You may also experience muscle spasms.

  2. 2

    Look in the mirror. Examine your shoulder for signs of a visual deformity. Your affected arm may appear to be longer than the other arm, or your shoulder joint may appear to be loose.

  3. 3

    Visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. A doctor will take a medical history, inquire about how you injured yourself and examine you. A physical examination along with X-rays will likely occur. At this point, your doctor will determine the appropriate treatment plan for you. A doctor will normally reduce -- or put back into place -- your shoulder joint. Severe pain will decrease shortly thereafter.

Tips and warnings

  • Left untreated, shoulder hyperextension can cause permanent damage to the tendons and nerves of your shoulder and upper arm.

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