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Life After a Shoulder Dislocation

The shoulders are the most mobile joints in the body. That makes them vulnerable to injuries like dislocation, which happens when a force pushes the shoulder bones out of their normal position. A shoulder dislocation causes pain, swelling, bruising, and limits movements. 

Board-certified orthopedic shoulder surgeon Dr. Matthew Pifer, MD, can help you recover from a shoulder dislocation. With the right approach, life after a shoulder dislocation can lead to full recovery. 

Understanding shoulder dislocation

Shoulder dislocation stretches or tears the ligaments and tendons in the shoulder, which causes shoulder pain and shoulder instability. While it’s a common injury among athletes, it can happen to anyone. Immobilizing the shoulder and managing pain is essential immediately after a shoulder dislocation. But rehabilitation is also crucial for long-term recovery and shoulder health.

Prioritizing rehabilitation

The first step towards recovery is a well-structured rehabilitation program. Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in this stage. A physical therapist can guide you through exercises that restore range of motion, strengthen shoulder muscles, and improve flexibility. 

Sticking to your rehabilitation program is crucial. In fact, skipping or rushing through rehabilitation jeopardizes recovery and increases the risk of complications.

Gradual return to activities

Patience is key when returning to your normal activities. Resist the temptation to jump back into sports or heavy lifting, and give your shoulder ample time to heal. Gradually increase the intensity of your activities under our medical guidance. This gradual approach helps build your shoulder’s resilience and reduces the likelihood of reinjury.

Ongoing shoulder strengthening

Once you’ve regained full function, make ongoing shoulder strengthening exercises a regular part of your routine. These exercises help maintain shoulder stability and strength, which are crucial in preventing future dislocations. Incorporating shoulder workouts into your general fitness regimen can provide long-term benefits.

Managing risks

Understanding the factors that led to your dislocation helps manage risks moving forward. If your dislocation was due to a sports injury, consider working with a coach to improve your technique and reduce the risk of reinjury. For non-sports-related injuries, be mindful of movements that strain your shoulder excessively.

Psychological recovery

A shoulder dislocation can also have a psychological impact, especially for athletes. Concerns about reinjury can be mentally taxing. It’s essential to address these fears – talk to a sports psychologist or a counselor to develop strategies to cope with anxiety. Building confidence in your shoulder’s strength post-recovery is as important as the physical healing process.

The journey to stronger shoulders

Life after a shoulder dislocation comes with challenges, but it’s also an opportunity to recover and have a strong, resilient shoulder. Each step is an investment in your long-term shoulder health and overall well-being. 

Dr. Pifer is your partner in your shoulder dislocation recovery. For all your orthopedic shoulder and sports medicine needs, schedule a visit with Dr. Pifer by contacting our office or requesting a booking online.

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