This site is intended for healthcare professionals
Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy
This is the most common type of dislocation of the shoulder. It accurate diagnosis requires 2 radiographs:
The history is often one of a fall on the hand.
On examination, there is a flattening of the deltoid (giving rise to a positive Hamilton's ruler sign), with a bulge visible anteriorly in thinner patients. The axillary nerve supplies sensation over a small area on the lateral aspect of the shoulder (sergeant's stripes area) and this should be tested in any shoulder dislocation injury.
95% of shoulder dislocations are anterior (1).