Dislocated shoulders can be either complete or partial. A partial dislocation, called a subluxation, occurs when the top of the humerus only partially comes out of its socket. A complete dislocation means that the head of the humerus is completely removed from the socket. Both are highly painful. After the shoulder is dislocated, patients should not attempt to force the arm bone back into place. This can damage the joint, as well as the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels that surround it, causing further injury. Instead, patients should ice the injured shoulder until they receive medical attention. After receiving treatment, most patients will need to undergo a physical therapy program to restore full range of motion.

Dislocated shoulder symptoms

The most telling symptoms of a dislocated shoulder are pain and visible shoulder deformity. If the shoulder appears to be a different shape after a patient is injured or applies excessive force to the shoulder joint, it’s likely that the shoulder was dislocated. A dislocation can be forward, backward, or downward. Patients are likely to experience numbness, swelling, weakness, and bruising regardless of the type of shoulder dislocation. In some cases, patients may tear ligaments in the shoulder, damage nerves, or experience spasms in the neck.

The most common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Deformity
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

What causes a dislocated shoulder?

The most common causes of dislocated shoulders are sports injuries, accidents, falling, and seizures, which can cause the humerus to pull out of the socket. Dislocated shoulders are almost always a result of physical trauma; they do not occur simply due to overuse of the shoulder joint.

The two populations that are at greatest risk of dislocating a shoulder are young men and elderly women. That’s because young men are likely to be involved in sports and other physical activities, while elderly women tend to have more brittle bones and are more likely to fall.

Shoulder Dislocation Physical Therapy

Chances are your arm will be in a sling for a while after your shoulder is treated, especially if you had surgery. Even so, your doctor may send you to a physical therapist right away so you can start some preliminary exercises to prevent your shoulder from becoming frozen due to immobility. He’ll provide a prescription for the type of exercises you should do based on your injury and treatment that the physical therapist will then use to create a PT program for you.

Elements of Physical Therapy for a Shoulder Injury

In order to get your shoulder back to health after a dislocation, your physical therapy will need to focus on several factors.

  • Pain relief
  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Posture

While every injury is different and everyone heals at different rates, most people are back to normal after dislocating a shoulder in eight to 12 weeks. If the injury to your shoulder is severe or you required surgery, it will take longer. Either way, you can trust that your surgeon and physical therapist will work together to make sure the therapy you do is targeted to getting you back to normal as soon as possible.

MultiCare Medical | Shoulder Dislocation Physical Therapy Treatments Omaha & Papillon Nebraska

Your Shoulder Dislocation Physical Therapy plays a crucial role in your recovery. An individualized rehabilitation program at MultiCare Medical Group helps relieve pain, promote healing, and restores strength, motion, and balance. If you have any questions about rehabilitation, please call their office in Papillion, Nebraska at 402-505-7989, or schedule an appointment online for a rehab assessment.