Shoulder Dislocation and Instability

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and is the most mobile joint in the body. It is largely dependent on its surrounding soft tissues to hold it in place. When the ball displaces out of the socket completely., this is called a dislocation. When the ball moves in the socket beyodn its normal capacity, but doesn't leave the socket, this is called shoulder instability

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Shoulder Dislocation and Instability

If a true dislocation has occurred it will mean tissues of the shoulder have been torn or damaged and this may involve the ball and sockets and the ligaments of your rotator cuff. Some symptoms include:

  • A sudden pop, the shoulder may relocate by itself and you feel another poo
  • A sudden weakness in the arm or a 'dead arm'', pins and needles may also follow
  • Apprehension with twisting your shoulder and fear that it may 'pop'' out
  • Weakness / pain with throwing

Shoulder Dislocation and Instability

Dislocations tend to occur due to a trauma or maneuver that pushes the arm beyond its normal range of motion. In a young person who wants to perform overhead or contact sports there is a high change that it will dislocate again and surgery may be considered. In an adult, there is a less of a change of re-dislocation and rehabilitation through Physiotherapy will be beneficial to avoid surgery

Treatment and management options

Suggestions for managing shoulder dislocation and shoulder instability

  • If you are unsure if your shoulder is still dislocated contact us during business hours for advice to make an appointment
  • Taping from your Physiotherapist or the use of a sling short term to improve your shoulder posture in the early stage and avoid re-dislocating
  • Gentle exercises to strengthen the scapula muscles can commence after 3 days and gradually improving the strength of your rotator cuff muscles should commence early to avoid weakness
  • Resting your shoulder from all movements for 4-6 weeks is not recommended

Whatever stage you’re at, we’re ready to help.

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