Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

When my husband hurt his shoulder playing football, his arm went blue and cold. His doctor said it was urgent that he have surgery to fix his shoulder. What happened that would cause his arm to change color like that?

Answer:

Your shoulder is a strong joint that has many nerves passing through it to feel the arms and the upper part of the chest and upper back. If the shoulder is injured, usually through a trauma, the nerves can be compressed - something is pressing down on the nerves and cutting off the sensation. In this case, there may also be a blockage of blood flow, depending on the extent of the injury. It's likely that your husband's doctor was worried about the circulation in the arm and wanted to be sure that the nerves didn't become permanently damaged. Jason A. Freedman and James A. Shankwiler. Nerve compression syndromes about the shoulder girdle. In Current Orthopedic Practice. September/October 2008. Vol. 19. No. 5. Pp. 524-529.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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