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Dislocated Shoulder

A Dislocated Shoulder is a common shoulder injury in contact sports such as rugby and martial arts. Shoulder dislocations are characterised by severe shoulder pain and hospital treatment is required to restore normal shoulder anatomy. It is important that a shoulder dislocation is seen quickly by a doctor who can put the joint back in place. Physiotherapy is vital to correct any weakness and prevent the recurrence of this painful and problematic injury.


Symptoms Of Dislocated Shoulder

Due to the damage to the structures surrounding the shoulder, there is a high chance of recurrent dislocation. Shoulder dislocation occurs more in young men and nearly 100% of those age 14-20 will have a recurrent dislocation. However, with our Physiotherapists’ assistance we can work on strengthening the muscle and ligament groups around the shoulder to minimise the risk of further dislocation.

Surgery on an unstable shoulder is usually required with recurrent dislocations, however, our highly skilled Physiotherapists can advise you on this and if required make the necessary referral to a suitable specialist.


Dislocated Shoulder Treatment 

Once the shoulder has been put back in place it is immobilised using a sling. The sling is kept on for about 2 to 3 weeks, during which time it is important that the elbow, wrist and fingers are kept moving to prevent them stiffening up.

Active rehabilitation is started as soon as possible but overhead arm movement and sporting activity should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. Gentle range of movement exercises under the supervision of a Chartered Physiotherapist can be started once the sling is removed.

Our Physiotherapists will devise an evidence based rehabilitation program tailored to your specific needs. Due to the high risk of further dislocation, Physiotherapy is vital for successful prevention.


Our Expertise

If you have experienced a shoulder dislocation it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Approximately 25% of all shoulder dislocations are accompanied by a fracture, which needs imaging and expert treatment.

Once the shoulder has been put back in place and has been immobilised using a sling our highly skilled Sports Physiotherapists will then provide expert treatment for your shoulder. They will prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the shoulder, giving you a long term solution to manage any weakness in the arm and stiffness in the fingers.

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