Shoulder Dislocations


How do they happen?

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. It is a very shallow ball and socket joint supported by the rotator cuff, its capsule, the labrum and the larger overlying muscles. The configuration of the joint allows us to do many things with our hands like fixing the overhead gutter or pitching a baseball at breakneck speeds.

We can get a shoulder dislocation due to a sudden trauma or due to an underlying instability. Due to the mobility of the shoulder we can dislocate the shoulder in many different directions and this is one way to classify the dislocation ie superior, posterior, inferior, anterior. The shoulder is the most commonly dislocated joint and it can be quite a painful and arduous experience.

How do I know if I have a dislocation?

When the joint is forcibly separated, many muscles and ligaments tend to be torn resulting in a lot of pain. You will be unable to move your shoulder in any direction. Physically you may be able to see what is called a step deformity where the shoulder appears squared off as the humeral head has moved out of its place from the glenoid fossa.

How do I treat a dislocated shoulder?

Depending on the severity of the dislocation, you may need your shoulder relocated or put back into place, or the dislocation may reduce back into the joint. Your physio can determine how long and how you need to immobolise your arm, and when you can begin to do exercise to strengthen the structures again. As most young people dislocate their arms during sporting activity, its important that you undertake a rehabilitation program to get you back to be able your sport.

If you have any questions or would like to book in to see one of our physiotherapists, please do not hesitate to contact Get Active Physiotherapy on 1300 8 9 10 11 or email us at

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