A dislocation is one of the most common ways to injure your shoulder, and it’s a condition that we see quite frequently at OrthoRehab PT. Shoulder dislocations tend to occur when you attempt to catch yourself during a fall or as a result of a collision during athletic activity, as this trauma can force your upper arm bone (the humerus) out of the shoulder socket (the scapula).
You may assume that the problem is addressed if you simply pop the shoulder back into place, but the forceful dislocation oftentimes results in injury to the soft tissues that help hold the humerus in place. If these soft tissues aren’t adequately protected and strengthened, dislocations can become recurrent. Thankfully, physical therapy can help get your shoulder back to full strength and reduce your risk of future injury. We take a look at how we help you achieve those results below.
PT For Shoulder Dislocations
Physical therapy is imperative following a shoulder dislocation because if you don’t improve the strength of the injured tendons and ligaments, your shoulder will remain unstable, greatly increasing your likelihood of a subsequent dislocation. Also, physical therapy can help you achieve these results quickly. Studies have found that many patients experience near complete recovery in as little as six weeks, so you can get back to doing the physical activities you love with confidence in your shoulder.
The specific exercises that you will pursue will be based on your injury and individual assessment, but oftentimes therapy focuses on three main aspects:
- Strength Training – Your ligaments and tendons will be in a weakened state following injury, and while the body does a good job of helping these soft tissues heal, they won’t be able to get back to a pre-injury level of strength on their own. You will slowly work to strengthen these tissues with resistance band exercises and stretching techniques that gradually expose your shoulder to more stress so that it isn’t overloaded during your recovery.
- Range Of Motion Training – You are also going to want to ensure that your shoulder can comfortably move in all directions so that certain movements don’t cause another dislocation. Your physical therapist may manually manipulate your shoulder into different positions or have you perform some movement techniques that help your shoulder get comfortable moving in a wide range of directions.
- Activity Specific Exercises – Finally, we’re going to help work to stabilize your shoulder for the activities you do most so that these motions don’t harm your shoulder. If you’re hoping to get back on the pitcher’s mound or make safe overhead lifts at your job, we will craft a PT routine that includes actions and motions that you’ll be performing in the future. We’ll develop an activity-specific therapy routine to ensure that your shoulder will be able to handle the stress that you plan to throw at it in the future.
So if you suffered a shoulder dislocation, don’t assume that your injury is in the past simply because you popped your shoulder back in place. Let us help stabilize the shoulder and restore confidence in the joint so that you can get back to doing your normal daily activities with ease. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab PT today at (612) 339-2041.
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