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"How do I stabilize my shoulder after repeated subluxations?"

ZocdocAnswersHow do I stabilize my shoulder after repeated subluxations?


I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so I'm no stranger to subluxations. 2 weeks ago, I fell down our stairs and caught myself with my left arm, pulling/stretching my shoulder. I had a lot of soft tissue and muscle pain afterwards, but now my shoulder is subluxing multiple times a day. I'm uninsurable because of my EDS, so I'd rather not pay to see a doc to tell me what I already know, especially since my EDS means I'm not a candidate for surgery, the common approach to chronic shoulder issues. If I sling my arm for a while to rest my shoulder, will that help? I have PT exercises I can do at home, but my shoulder is too unstable at this time. Are there any other ways to stabilize my shoulder so it can heal?


I am sorry to hear about your shoulder subluxation. This is certainly a difficult situation given your Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Under the affordable health care act, preexisting conditions, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, are no longer grounds for exclusion from insurance. You will need to see an orthopedic surgeon to determine the best course of action, and if lack of insurance is a barrier, I encourage you to register for a plan now and then schedule an appointment with a surgeon. As you know, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome involves a abnormality of collagen, which is a protein used in many different organs to provide a structural scaffold for different cells. There are different forms of Ehlers-Danlos, but many patients experience joint laxity. This often leads to frequent subluxations, or dislocations. Frequent dislocations can lead to damage of the shoulder joint bones as well as damage to the labrum, or cartilage lining the joint. While I am sure that your disorder increases the risk of surgery, it is important for you to see a surgeon who specializes in shoulder injuries to determine if there are any procedures at all that can provide some joint stability. Physical therapy alone may not be sufficient, but you will need to see a surgeon for a more thorough assessment.

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