Recovering from a dislocated shoulder is an unfortunate experience that many athletes must go through. As the most common joint in the body to dislocate, shoulder injuries happen in high-impact sports such as football and hockey, but also in everyday situations such as falls or car accidents.
Regardless of the reason for the injury, patients recovering from a dislocated shoulder generally go through a similar process. Although some shoulder dislocations also come with a fracture, many do not and can be treated without the need for surgery. A closed reduction is the treatment most recommended when there is not an associated fracture.
Common Mistakes When Recovering from a Dislocated ShoulderA dislocated shoulder is a treatable condition that generally does not prevent future activity if it is allowed to properly heal. However, complications can arise when patients make the following common mistakes:
- Don't immobilize the joint - Immobilization with a sling is always necessary after a closed reduction. The angle of the immobilization depends on how many times the shoulder has previously been dislocated, but the most important thing is to keep the shoulder immobilized to help prevent future dislocations.
- Don't go to scheduled doctor visits - After initial treatment, it is important to go to follow-up appointments. The decision to allow movement in the shoulder varies from patient to patient, so do go to scheduled doctor visits, even if you are feeling well.
- Return to activity too quickly - Even if you are not experiencing pain, you may still need to keep your shoulder immobilized for a period of time.
- Forget to do physical therapy - When you are allowed to introduce shoulder movements, follow your physical therapist's instructions closely. Too much or too little activity can impede the recovery process.
- Don't help the body heal faster - Fortunately, the body is able to heal itself naturally. However, you can help accelerate this process with activities like rest, ice therapy, and compression. Not actively helping your body heal faster can lengthen the time it takes when recovering from a dislocated shoulder.
Assuming you follow your doctor's instructions and the healing process goes well, you should be able to return to normal function in about three or four months.
To help speed up the healing process and reduce pain, use active cold compression therapy from Game Ready. Our patented system ensures that the entire shoulder area benefits from the therapeutic cold that helps reduce pain and inflammation. Active compression also helps control swelling and brings oxygenated blood to the joint for faster tissue repair. Contact us or ask your doctor about getting a Game Ready system for your shoulder recovery.
Have you ever had a dislocated shoulder? How long did it take to recover?