Luxatio erecta (inferior shoulder dislocation)

Case contributed by Dr Andrew Ho


Fall from a ladder and tried to catch himself with his right arm.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

Patient was unable to put his arm down on exam.

Frontal radiograph reveals the inferior dislocation of the humeral head (black arrow) from the glenoid fossa (white arrows). The humerus is parallel to the spine of the scapula, the common position in luxatio erecta.

Case Discussion

Luxatio erecta, an uncommon form of shoulder dislocation (0.5-1%),  is an inferior displacement of the humeral head with loss of articulation with the glenoid fossa caused by severe arm hyperabduction.  Essentially the arm is "locked" in abduction.  Often there is an associated greater tuberosity fracture.

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Case information

rID: 22924
Published: 4th May 2013
Last edited: 8th Jan 2021
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included