Things to Consider After a Shoulder Dislocation

The term dislocation can be scary, and when it happens, it is even scarier. It is not just the pain that can make it scary; it is the feelings and thoughts about what to do next. The good news is that dislocations are more common than you may think, and we have an excellent handle on helping individuals return to their respective activities.

Roughly 95% of first-time dislocations are caused by a traumatic event and can account for up to 50% of all joint dislocations presenting to an emergency department.1 After a first-time dislocation is reduced by a physician, there is typically a period of immobilization followed by a course of physical therapy management.1,2,3 Treatment strategies will differ depending on if the individual has dislocated for the first time or suffers from chronic dislocations.

Shoulder Anatomy

During a traumatic dislocation, the labrum, a ring of cartilage that helps increase stability, can become disrupted. Although damage to the labrum is possible, a person who experiences a dislocation for the first time is typically recommended to complete a course of Physical Therapy treatment. The good news is damage to the labrum does not necessarily lead to persistent pain; the shoulder can often become asymptomatic, meaning no signs or symptoms are associated with the labral injury.4 Depending on age and activity level, some individuals are at a higher risk of recurring dislocations.1,2,3 Rehabilitation is the first line of defense to minimize the probability of another dislocation. If the shoulder continues to dislocate, a stabilization surgery may be necessary and would require a consult with an orthopedic surgeon. Multiple dislocations can potentially increase the trauma to both the labrum and the shoulder joint.

Physical Therapy consists of regaining range of motion and improving tolerance into various positions that are uncomfortable to the individual. Rehabilitation will also include a variety of strength and conditioning exercises to improve strength and stability within the shoulder as well as guidance on returning the individual to their meaningful activities. If you are wondering if Physical Therapy is what you need or you have any questions, Nevada Physical Therapy offers FREE phone consults, click this link and one of our licensed physical therapist will contact you.

Written By: Dakota Ezell, PT, DPT

References:

  1. Avila Lafuente J, Moros Marco S, García Pequerul J. Controversies in the Management of the First Time Shoulder Dislocation. Open Orthop J. 2017;11(Suppl-6, M17):1001-1010. doi:10.2174/1874325001711011001.
  2. Robinson CM, Dobson RJ. Anterior instability of the shoulder after trauma. J Bone Joint Surg Br 2004; 86(4):469-79.
  3. Te Slaa R, Brand R, Marti R. A prospective arthroscopic study of acute first-time anterior shoulder dislocation in the young: a five-year follow-up study. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2003;12(6):529-534.
  4. Miniaci A, Mascia A, Salonen D, Becker E. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Shoulder in Asymptomatic Professional Baseball Pitchers. Am J Sports Med. 2002;30(1):66-73. doi:10.1177/03635465020300012501.

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Olivia

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Nick was so attentive to my needs and he structured his schedule to fit mine. My therapy was focused on my strengths and weaknesses; therefore, my recovery time was much shorter than expected. I highly recommend Nevada Physical Therapy for any lingering pain you may be experiencing.

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I cannot say enough positive things about this place. Came in with an ACL injury. I spent a few weeks working with jonathan. His evidence-based approach and motivational ability was really really inspiring. He helped me get back to normal and then some!

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DAKOTA EZELL is at the top of MY list as a highly skilled, intuitive, present professional who values and treats me as a whole person, not just someone to fill a time slot

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The best Physical Therapy place I have ever visited. Rare to see an emphasis on finding the best method to improve injury instead of giving everyone the same plan. But the best part about this place is it's approach to well being during and after PT.

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EP

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I was referred to Brian Fearnley by someone with significant credibility. I consider working with Brian a huge stroke of luck. This specific 'PT' is increasing my recovery potential a hundred fold. Brian knows his stuff. He is well versed in PT. He has athletic history at UNR and is active in our local community. He is clearly in this profession to help people recover and get under their own power.

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Joyce

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After two plus years of hip pain, three other physical therapists, quarterly injections and no relief, Crista made the pain go away! If I could give her and this practice 10 stars I'd do it!

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Perris

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As a professional athlete, injuries can make or break a career. Luckily, in my case, I had Nevada Physical Therapy on my side. Not only did they physically help me recover from a meniscus surgery, but they provided the best emotional support you could ask for in such a difficult time.

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Ross

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Phenomenal. I had some brutal injuries that resulted in four surgeries and seriously disrupted my life. There can be no doubt that the quality of life I enjoy today was a direct result of working with Nevada Physical Therapy.

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Brandon

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I attended Nevada Physical Therapy for my post surgery physical therapy and have nothing but great things to say. For any of you reading this, this place is by far the best physical therapy place I have ever attended with exceptional staff. I had the pleasure to work with Dakota who is extremely knowledgeable, patient and would go above and beyond to make sure you're taken care of.

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