Shoulder Partial (Subluxation) or Full Dislocation

Well done! You’ve taken the first steps to understanding and relieving your Shoulder Partial or Full Dislocation! Once you read this page answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia and bring that to your next treatment session. Recovery from your Shoulder Dislocation is crucial in order to achieve your goals and gain rapid and long-lasting results. Your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia has requested that you read this page so that you understand your condition and know how to best manage in between physiotherapy consultations. Shoulder Dislocation

What is a Partial or Full Dislocation?

A joint dislocation is when the bones that form the joint are no longer interacting with each other. In the case of the shoulder, this refers to gleno-humeral ball and socket joint. Dislocation usually occurs following a traumatic incident where the shoulder is placed in extreme range of motion under force, or the shoulder receives a sudden, substantial force. Shoulder dislocation may also occur following repetitive strain of the ligaments that support the shoulder, leading to instability. A partial dislocation, known as a subluxation, occurs when the humerus (arm bone) slips partially out of the socket. In this case, the humeral head will usually pop back into its socket on its own. With a full dislocation, never try to relocate the joint on your own. You must seek medical advice for this. If you have a current full dislocation, please visit the emergency room of your local hospital. shoulder joint

How can you help me with my Shoulder Dislocation?

A detailed history, taken by your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, of the pain or injury can determine the underlying cause of the Shoulder Dislocation, while a physical assessment of the shoulder, and surrounding structures, can determine the best course of action in treating the condition. Usually, treatment will involve correcting any abnormal movements of the shoulder, and strengthening the rotator cuff muscles so that they may better support the ligaments of the shoulder, stabilizing the shoulder in the process.

What should I do to avoid aggravating my Shoulder Dislocation?

  • Follow the ADVICE of the Emergency physician that you saw, if you suffered a full dislocation.
  • AVOID overhead activities, or activities that involve reaching behind you, particularly during the acute phase.
  • For RELIEF, applying ice to the area may help to reduce some pain and inflammation in the initial stages. Be sure to wrap the icepack in a towel, and only apply for 10 minutes every 2 hours. CEASE use if you have any negative reaction.
  • DO concentrate on maintaining good, erect posture, particularly during activities with that involve the shoulders.
  • Applying non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may help to reduce pain in the short term. CONSULT your PHARMACIST regarding their use.
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, but avoid aggravating activities.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles de-loaded and moving freely with no restrictions.
Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your Shoulder Dislocation has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities. However, it is very common to dislocate your shoulder a second time once it has occurred once. Be careful!

Tips from our physiotherapists

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