ZocdocAnswersWhat is the recovery period after a dislocated shoulder?

Question

What is the recovery period after a dislocated shoulder?

I dislocated my shoulder when I was doing some rock climbing with one of my buddies. I got it back into socket but how long before it is completely recovered? Does it cause any permanent damage if you dislocate your shoulder?

Answer

The answer to your question depends a lot on how bad you dislocated your shoulder, and what type of dislocation you had. Without getting into the technical details of the different types of dislocations, I will say that they all involve the stretching of ligaments that hold the shoulder in its place. These ligaments take some time to heal, maybe as much as a few weeks. After a single dislocation, chances are that your shoulder ligaments will heal to nearly their previous strength. However, each shoulder dislocation you have stretches these ligaments out even further making it easier for your shoulder to get dislocated. If you have many shoulder dislocations that occur with minimal contact, then in the end you may need to have surgery to tighten up the ligaments. Since this is your first dislocation, you can probably get away with supportive exercises that strength the muscles of the rotator cuff. Strengthening these muscles can provide support to the shoulder ligaments and help hold in in place. It is important to do this now, as this measure will not work if your shoulder dislocates a few more times. The best doctor for you to see about this issue is an orthopedic surgeon. He or she can examine your shoulder and provide you with education on how to prevent this from happening again.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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