What is a Shoulder Dislocation?

 dislocated shoulder is an injury in which your upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket that’s part of your shoulder blade. The shoulder is the body’s most mobile joint, which makes it susceptible to dislocation. If you suspect a dislocated shoulder, seek prompt medical attention.

Local Orthopedic Surgeon

James Dreese

James Dreese

Orthopaedic Surgeon
Lutherville, MD
Dr. Jack Rocco

Dr. Jack Rocco

MD
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Hollidaysburg, PA
Dr. Jamal Rakem

Dr. Jamal Rakem

Orthopaedic Surgeon
Welland, ON

Quiz: Do You Understand Shoulder Dislocation?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

In older patients, the main risk with a shoulder dislocation is having an associated rotator cuff tear.

Explanation:
In older patients, the main risk with a shoulder dislocation is having an associated rotator cuff tear, or developing a post-dislocation stiff or frozen shoulder because it’s been immobilized for too long.
2

If nobody on the field can put your dislocated shoulder back in place, you probably need to go to the emergency room.

Explanation:
If a team trainer or other healthcare professional isn't on the field to put a first-time dislocated shoulder into place, you’re likely going to have to go to the emergency department to get a physician to put it back in joint.
3

After a first-time dislocation, patients usually get an MRI before it gets put back into joint.

Explanation:
After a first-time dislocation, patients usually get X-rays before it gets put back into joint. Once it’s put back in joint, X-rays are typically repeated on the same day to make sure that there are no other associated fractures with the dislocation.
4

Surgery for a dislocated shoulder is usually an arthroscopic day procedure.

Explanation:
If you develop recurrent dislocations, the most common treatment is surgical reconstruction of the damaged tissues in the shoulder joint. This usually involves an arthroscopic day procedure, where the surgeon identifies the torn labrum or the torn ligaments are that have occurred with each shoulder dislocation.
5

You should regain your range of motion within the first three to six months and return to your sport after about nine months.

Explanation:
Most patients will benefit from physiotherapy to get their range of motion back, decrease pain and increase strength. You should regain your range of motion within the first two to three months and return to your sport after about six months.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Dr. Jordan Leith, MD, MHSc, FRCSC, Sport Med Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Shoulder Dislocation in the Older Patient

Dr. Patrick Chin, MD, MBA, FRCSC, Orthopaedic Surgeon, discusses treatment of shoulder pain.

Shoulder Dislocation Management

Shoulder instability or shoulder dislocations occur primarily in the younger, active athletic population, 30 years and under. We generally think that patients that are under 25 who suffer a first-time dislocation are at a relatively high risk of recurrent dislocations, upwards of 85 percent or more. Those patients are at risk for further damage to their shoulder every time they dislocate.

The key to shoulder dislocations or the main thing patients need to understand is once you’ve had a first-time dislocation and you’re in that age demographic, you need to be aware that you’re probably going to have recurrent dislocations if you continue to participate in the sporting activities or the high-risk activities that put the shoulder at risk for dislocation.

You need to seek medical attention after your first dislocation, either with your family doctor, a physiotherapist, or, primarily, an orthopedic surgeon because the main treatment, if you develop recurrent dislocations, is surgical reconstruction of the damaged tissues in the shoulder joint.

Patients who suffer their first dislocation usually encounter a significant amount of pain as the shoulder comes out of joint. If they’re on the field of play and there’s a team trainer or somebody available that can put the shoulder back in joint, that’s the best-case scenario. Local Physiotherapist

However, if it’s not possible to put it back in joint on the field of play then you’re likely going to have to go to the emergency department to get a physician to put it back in joint.

With respect to imaging required after you’ve had a dislocation, generally, if you’ve had a first-time dislocation, you should get X-rays before it gets put back into joint. Once it’s put back in joint, you should get repeat X-rays the same day of the joint to make sure that there’s no other associated fractures with that dislocation.

If you suffered a first-time shoulder dislocation or have recurrent dislocations of your shoulder, you should rehabilitate with a physiotherapist, seek the advice of your family physician, and get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon so you can discuss the surgical management of this problem.

Local Orthopaedic Surgeons

Presenter: Dr. Jordan Leith, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Burnaby, BC

Local Practitioners: Orthopaedic Surgeon

Local Physiotherapist

Anneliese Ruggeri

Anneliese Ruggeri

Physiotherapist
Middlebury, CT
Mr. Trevor Kwolek

Mr. Trevor Kwolek

Physiotherapist
Fonthill, ON
Chritine Bridle

Chritine Bridle

FCAMPT, CAFCI
Physiotherapist
St Catherines, ON

In older patients, the main risk with a shoulder dislocation is having an associated rotator cuff tear, or developing a post-dislocation stiff or frozen shoulder because it’s been immobilized for too long. Patients who suffer their first dislocation usually encounter a significant amount of pain as the shoulder comes out of joint. If you’re on the field and there’s a team trainer or somebody available that can put the shoulder back in joint, that’s the best-case scenario. However, if it’s not possible to put it back in joint on the field of play then you’re likely going to have to go to the emergency department to get a physician to put it back in joint.

Surgery for Shoulder Dislocation

If you’ve suffered a first-time shoulder dislocation or have recurrent dislocations of your shoulder, you should seek the advice of your family physician and get a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon so you can discuss the surgical management of this problem. After a first-time dislocation, patients usually get X-rays before it gets put back into joint. Once it’s put back in joint, X-rays are typically repeated on the same day to make sure that there are no other associated fractures with the dislocation.

If you develop recurrent dislocations, the most common treatment is surgical reconstruction of the damaged tissues in the shoulder joint. This usually involves an arthroscopic day procedure, where the surgeon identifies the torn labrum or ligaments that have occurred with each shoulder dislocation. The orthopaedic surgeon passes sutures through the ligaments and reattaches them to keep the ball

Most patients will benefit from physiotherapy to get their range of motion back, decrease pain and increase strength. You should regain your range of motion within the first two to three months and return to your sport after about six months.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’d like more information on shoulder dislocation.

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on sports health.

  • In older patients, the main risk with a shoulder dislocation is having an associated rotator cuff tear, or developing a post-dislocation stiff or frozen shoulder because it’s been immobilized for too long.
  • If a team trainer or other healthcare professional isn’t on the field to put a first-time dislocated shoulder into place, you’re likely going to have to go to the emergency department to get a physician to put it back in joint.
  • After a first-time dislocation, patients usually get X-rays before it gets put back into joint. Once it’s put back in joint, X-rays are typically repeated on the same day to make sure that there are no other associated fractures with the dislocation.
  • If you develop recurrent dislocations, the most common treatment is surgical reconstruction of the damaged tissues in the shoulder joint. This usually involves an arthroscopic day procedure, where the surgeon identifies the torn labrum or the torn ligaments are that have occurred with each shoulder dislocation.
  • Most patients will benefit from physiotherapy to get their range of motion back, decrease pain and increase strength. You should regain your range of motion within the first two to three months and return to your sport after about six months.

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