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Shoulder Dislocation: What You Should Know

Dislocations of the shoulder are traumatic injuries that commonly occur in athletes and/or because of a fall. In the shoulder, a dislocation is the separation of the ball from the socket. With a dislocation, the ball can move in a forward (anterior), backward (posterior), or downward (inferior) direction. A dislocation is very painful, and most times will need to be corrected (reduced) by a health care professional.

Symptoms of a dislocation include:

•Severe shoulder pain


•Numbness or tingling in arm

•Weakness in arm

•Visible deformity in shoulder


After your dislocation is reduced, it is strongly recommended to follow up with an orthopedic physician. During your dislocation, you may have damaged cartilage or the labrum in your shoulder. If these tissues are damaged, surgery may be required as there is a high risk of re-injury or another dislocation.


For patients who do not require surgery, your physician will recommend physical therapy. Therapy will be focused on restoring ROM, increasing shoulder strength, and improving overall shoulder function.


If surgery is required, your surgeon will prescribe therapy to assist with recovery. Initially after surgery, you will be immobilized in a shoulder brace. Your therapist will perform shoulder ROM through a minimal range, work on improving elbow, wrist and hand mobility, and perform pain management techniques such as ice and massage. As recovery continues and when deemed necessary by your physician, your therapist will introduce other strengthening and mobility exercises to help restore your normal functional activities. It may take a few months of recovery before resuming more strenuous activities.

We understand the journey to recovery after surgery can be challenging, but you're not alone. Our dedicated team is committed to providing personalized care, tailored specifically to your needs. From the initial stages of immobilization, through the meticulous work on mobility and pain management, to the careful introduction of strengthening exercises, we are here to support you every step of the way.

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