Shoulder dislocation

Harris & Ross are experienced in working with patients who present with a shoulder dislocation- often as a result of a sporting injury, but also in some cases caused by muscle control issues. Find out more about this problem and how Harris & Ross go about treating it below:

What is Shoulder Instability?

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. For the shoulder joint to move effectively the ball needs to be centred securely in the shallow socket. Issues that cause the ball to become displaced from the socket result in the shoulder becoming unstable.

Instability can vary in severity from person to person. It can result in recurrent dislocations, leading to a lack of confidence in the shoulder as well as pain and poor movement.

What causes it?

  • Traumatic Injury. Instability can be the result of an acute injury causing the joint capsule and ligaments that provide stability to become torn and loose. One example of this is landing with the shoulder in a vulnerable position in rugby. This will require re-locating in hospital to put the ball back in the socket.

 Following a shoulder dislocation the joint capsule and ligaments do not heel as strong and tight as they originally were. This combined commonly with damage to the socket and/or the ball, makes the joint susceptible to recurrent dislocations.

  • Mild instability can develop following repeated low-level damage to the joint capsule, for instance in racket sports players
  • Non-traumatic / Atraumatic instability is when there has been no injury sustained. This instability is a result of a lack of co-ordinated muscle control of the shoulder and scapula muscles, which result with the ball being displaced from the shoulder socket.

Signs and symptoms of Instability:

  • Repeated dislocations
  • Shoulder pain
  • Persistent feeling of the shoulder being loose
  • May feel like shoulder is slipping in and out of joint
  • Episodes of “dead arm”

How are they managed?

People experiencing shoulder instability will be managed differently depending on the nature of the injury, instability, and the goals and needs of the individual.

Traumatic Instability

With traumatic instability in the young sporty population the best option is to have surgical intervention to stabilise the shoulder.

In people of an older population there is often less chance of recurrence for a variety of reasons.

Ultimately either population can be managed without surgery and it is a personal decision to make once people are properly informed.

Non-traumatic Instability

This is managed by intensive rehabilitation strengthening the deep shoulder muscles (rotator cuff) and muscles that stabilise the shoulder blade (scapula stabilisers).

How can Physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy rehab for shoulder instability includes:

  • Range of movement exercises
  • Strength and stability exercises
  • Proprioceptive exercises
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Taping
  • Neck and Upper Back (thoracic) joint mobilisations
  • Phased rehab progressions ensuring a safe return to sport

To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment at our Wilmslow, Manchester, Altrincham or Wigan clinics, and discuss a treatment plan shoulder dislocation related rehabilitation  call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below