PT eDigest


PTD1014_LeadShrugging Off a Shoulder Dislocation

It is a classic movie scene: The hero’s shoulder gets knocked out of joint. With a nonchalant grunt, he pushes it back into place and goes about his business saving the world. Well, that might work in the movies, but in real life a dislocated shoulder is a very serious problem that cannot be simply popped into place.

Physical therapy can often be utilized to help maintain proper shoulder alignment. But because it is the most utilized joint in the body, your shoulder runs the risk of dislocating itself again, often resulting in the need for shoulder stabilization surgery.

Shoulder stabilization surgery involves reattaching the torn tissue to the place where it came off the bone. Following surgery, your shoulder will be placed in a sling for four to six weeks. During this period, the most vulnerable part of recovery, immobilization is absolutely imperative. The most common side effects, pain and swelling, can be treated with medication. Physical therapy primarily involves techniques for protecting your shoulder and ensuring that it heals, along with gentle, low-impact exercises to restore your shoulder’s range of motion (ROM).

After the initial few weeks, physical therapy begins in earnest. While you will continue to wear a sling in most circumstances, it may be removed for strengthening and ROM exercises. You will also begin exercises that focus on your trunk region and your rotator cuff. Other than heavy lifting, you will be able to return to your regular activities typically at eight to 10 weeks.

Three months after surgery, you will be living a normal life except for avoiding strenuous physical activity. Under our guidance, your exercise program will become still more vigorous. A month later, you should be able to return to full physical activity. Just make sure that you continue your exercise regimen as prescribed and continue to make regular appointments with us to check your progress.

Download the PTe Digest for October 2014