Question:My 23-year old son dislocated his shoulder playing intramural soccer. He says it's "okay" and he's back to playing on his team. What keeps it from dislocating again?
Shoulder dislocations can be complex problems. If the soft tissues around the shoulder aren't torn or damaged during the injury, the body may be able to heal itself. Usually this takes at least six weeks. Some strengthening exercises may be needed to protect the joint from further injury. This is especially true if the joint is being stressed or overloaded during sports activities.
If the ligaments around the joint are stretched, bleeding, or torn, then a person is at increased risk for another dislocation. An orthopedic surgeon can examine and test the joint during an office visit and advise patients. The only way to know for sure the status of the joint and soft tissues around it is an arthroscopic exam (surgery).
Many athletes do, in fact, dislocate a shoulder and return to sports with no further problems.Naoko Mizuno, MD, et al. Recurrent Anterior Shoulder Dislocation Caused by a Midsubstance Complete Capsular Tear. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. December 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 12. Pp. 2717-2723.
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