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Will I Ever Be Able to Return to Sports After a Shoulder Dislocation?

Will I Ever Be Able to Return to Sports After a Shoulder Dislocation?

Your shoulder is one of the largest and most powerful joints in your body. This ball-and-socket joint connects your arm to your torso and is responsible for a variety of movements and functions, including rotating your upper arm, bearing weight over your head, and reaching behind your back. 

Healthy shoulders are especially important to almost every sport from volleyball and swimming to baseball and football. 

Even though it’s both strong and flexible, your shoulder isn’t invincible. It’s often your shoulders’ immense flexibility that puts them in most jeopardy.

When the worst happens and you dislocate your shoulder, you need a team of sports medicine experts — like our specialists here at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group who specialize in getting you back in the game. 

Here’s everything you should know about shoulder dislocations, how they impact your game, and what you can do about them. 

A closer look at shoulder dislocations

A shoulder dislocation occurs when your upper arm bone pops out of the socket in your shoulder joint. This injury is painful and results in swelling, bruising, and lack of mobility. 

And often, there are visual signs that your shoulder is out of place.

Shoulder dislocations typically stem from falls or direct blows and are common in contact and high-impact sports, such as football, hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball. 

Because your shoulder can move in virtually any direction, it’s incredibly susceptible to dislocation.

What it means for your game

Shoulder dislocations aren’t game-ending, but they can be game-changing. 

Once you’ve dislocated your shoulder once, it’s often difficult to regain pre-injury levels of strength and flexibility, especially if your injury is severe. In many cases, your shoulder is also vulnerable to repeat dislocations in the future.  

Depending on the extent of your dislocation and the intensity of your sport, you may need anywhere from six weeks to several months before you can get off the sidelines. 

The best thing you can do for your dislocated shoulder is to seek immediate medical attention from one of our experts, as the shoulder should be put back into place as quickly as possible.  Our team at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group can often see you immediately in our office or our Urgent Care clinic, but if that is not convenient then you should be seen in an emergency room.  After the shoulder is put back into place, we can focus on next steps.  Here’s a closer look at how we treat your shoulder injury and help you get back to the game you love.

How we can help

At the Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, we offer a variety of treatments and therapies that focus on both managing symptoms and rehabilitating your shoulder. Treatment begins conservatively often with medications and sometimes physical therapy or a shoulder brace.  We will also commonly order an MRI to evaluate the extent of the damage.

Depending on your age and activity level, as well as how many times you have dislocated your shoulder, we may recommend surgery to help reduce future dislocations and return you to your optimal function. We have board-certified surgeons on staff experienced at performing minimally-invasive, advanced procedures.

Getting back to your sport

Whatever your treatment plans entail, we know that getting back in the game is a top priority. We also know that if you don’t have a strategic return-to-play plan, you could find yourself right back on the bench. 

We clear athletes for activity once the full range of motion, strength, and flexibility have been rehabilitated. We also require that movement be pain-free before giving permission to play. 

It’s crucial that you continue to follow all prescribed therapies and monitor your pain levels, especially during your first practices and games post-injury. 

When you’re injured, this season may be over, but rest assured, there’s hope for next season even after a dislocated shoulder. 

If you’ve recently injured your shoulder and you’re ready to get on the road to recovery, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone. We have five convenient locations in Carmel, Newburgh, Mt. Kisco, and Fishkill, New York, as well as Danbury, Connecticut. 

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