Locating Best Treatments for Shoulder DislocationMuch has changed in the world of rehabilitation for dislocated shoulders. Shoulder dislocations cause a wide range of damage and shoulder instability. Ideally, doctors could find the right treatment for both problems.
The best way to do this is to understand the anatomy of the shoulder and how it works. This includes the structures that hold the joint together, such as ligaments and cartilage. It also includes the more moveable parts, such as nerves and muscles.
The shoulder joint is designed for motion. This means it gives up some of its "holding" capacity to allow for nearly 360 degrees of movement. Under stress or with trauma, the shoulder joint can dislocate. Usually, this occurs in a forward (anterior) direction. In a dislocation, the soft tissues around the shoulder get stretched in a forceful way.
Without tight tissues around the joint, the risk of another dislocation goes up. About 70 percent of people who dislocate a shoulder will dislocate it again if they don't have surgery to repair it. This is especially true for anyone under 20 years of age.
Rehabilitation after injury (with or without surgery) has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Without surgery, the arm is no longer held still in a sling for six weeks. A sling may be used, but only for a short time. Patients are usually sent to a physical therapist for an exercise and rehab program.
Physical therapy helps strengthen shoulder muscles and time their movements and actions. The therapist must help the patient's joint respond to quick changes in position. Training the nerve input to coordinate shoulder movement is often necessary. All of these treatment methods help prepare the shoulder for a return to full daily activities and sports participation.
Kimberly Hayes, PT, et al. Shoulder Instability: Management and Rehabilitation. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. October 2002. Vol. 32. No. 10. Pp. 497-509.
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