Shoulder Dislocation Management

Dr. Jordan Leith, MD, MHSc, FRCSC, Sport Med Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Shoulder Dislocation Management

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Dr. Jordan Leith, MD, MHSc, FRCSC, Sport Med Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Shoulder Dislocation Management
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Jordan Leith, MD, MHSc, FRCSC, Sport Med Orthopedic Surgeon

Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

Shoulder instability or shoulder dislocations occur primarily in the younger, active athletic population, 30 years and under. We generally think that patients that are under 25 who suffer a first-time dislocation are at a relatively high risk of recurrent dislocations, upwards of 85 percent or more. Those patients are at risk for further damage to their shoulder every time they dislocate.

The key to shoulder dislocations or the main thing patients need to understand is once you’ve had a first-time dislocation and you’re in that age demographic, you need to be aware that you’re probably going to have recurrent dislocations if you continue to participate in the sporting activities or the high-risk activities that put the shoulder at risk for dislocation.

You need to seek medical attention after your first dislocation, either with your family doctor, a physiotherapist, or, primarily, an orthopedic surgeon because the main treatment, if you develop recurrent dislocations, is surgical reconstruction of the damaged tissues in the shoulder joint.

Patients who suffer their first dislocation usually encounter a significant amount of pain as the shoulder comes out of joint. If they’re on the field of play and there’s a team trainer or somebody available that can put the shoulder back in joint, that’s the best-case scenario.

However, if it’s not possible to put it back in joint on the field of play then you’re likely going to have to go to the emergency department to get a physician to put it back in joint.

With respect to imaging required after you’ve had a dislocation, generally, if you’ve had a first-time dislocation, you should get X-rays before it gets put back into joint. Once it’s put back in joint, you should get repeat X-rays the same day of the joint to make sure that there’s no other associated fractures with that dislocation.

If you suffered a first-time shoulder dislocation or have recurrent dislocations of your shoulder, you should rehabilitate with a physiotherapist, seek the advice of your family physician, and get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon so you can discuss the surgical management of this problem.

Presenter: Dr. Jordan Leith, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Burnaby, BC

Local Practitioners: Orthopaedic Surgeon

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.