The shoulder is the one of the most mobile and flexible joint in the body. It is held to the body through soft tissue support. The shoulder has a lot of movement and to achieve that, joint stability has to be sacrificed. It is for this reason that shoulder dislocations are a common occurrence – especially in sports.
What is a dislocation:
A dislocated shoulder is when the head of the upper arm (humerus) is moved out of its normal position to sit outside on the outside of the shoulder socket. The level of flexibility is variable between individuals. Some individuals may be prone to shoulder dislocations due to the shape of their bones and the level of flexibility. Other people might never have a dislocated shoulder except for a traumatic injury that forces it out of position. The shoulder can dislocate in many different directions, the most common being front.
What to do if this happens
The first time a shoulder dislocates is usually the most serious. If the shoulder doesn’t just go back in by itself , then someone will need to help to put it back in. This needs to be done by a professional as they must be able to assess what type of dislocation has occurred, and often an X-ray needs to be taken before the relocation happens. A small fracture can occur as the shoulder is being put into place, which is why it is so important to have a professional perform the procedure.
How can Physiotherapy help?
Following dislocation, your Physiotherapist can advise on how to manage your condition, on which movements you can do and what exercises to start to strengthen the damaged muscles. It is important to keep the shoulder protected for a period of time to allow damaged structures to heal as well as they can.