Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder News

Rapid Return to Sports after Shoulder Dislocation without Surgery

Can athletes with a dislocated shoulder get back into the game? Can they do this without surgery? During the same season? Doctors who work in sports medicine put this question to the test. They treated 30 athletes with shoulder instability from a partial or complete dislocation. Physical therapy and bracing were used as treatment options.

All players were competitive athletes at the high school or college level. All wanted to return to their sport during the same season. Measures used included: 1) the player able to return to the same playing position at the same level of play; 2) number of days missed; and 3) number of times the same shoulder dislocated again.

The authors report that 90 percent of the athletes returned for part or all of the season. The average number of days missed before getting back to the field was 10. One-third of those athletes had at least one more sport-related shoulder dislocation. Half of the athletes ended up having surgery later during the off-season.

The authors say that athletes with shoulder instability can return to their sports without immobilization or surgery. The athlete can delay surgery until the off-season without further damage to the shoulder.

Daniel D. Buss, MD, et al. Nonoperative Management for In-Season Athletes With Anterior Shoulder Instability. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. August/September 2004. Vol. 32. No. 6. Pp. 1430-1433.


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