Proper care for a dislocated shoulder

Even though the shoulder is considered as one of the highly mobile and versatile joints in the body, it is also susceptible to injury. A dislocated shoulder is a common injury among athletes but can also occur at home or in the workplace as a result of falls, direct blow or extreme rotation. This injury occurs when the arm bone popped out of the shoulder socket.

In most cases, this injury causes evident deformity, immediate swelling, intense pain and loss of movement in the affected joint. You have to familiar on how to care for a dislocated shoulder in case a family member sustains one to help with the recovery process.

Seeking medical care

It is vital to seek medical care as soon as possible after an individual sustained a dislocated shoulder. Make sure that the affected arm is properly supported with either a sling or the opposite arm until a doctor can be reached or the nearest emergency department.

Dislocated shoulder

When an individual sustained as dislocated shoulder, you can apply ice for 20-30 minutes at 3-4 hours during the two weeks after the injury.

Immobilization of the injured shoulder

The damaged shoulder should be properly immobilized for at least 2-3 weeks, unless directed by the doctor. A shoulder immobilizer can be used which is a special type of arm sling that immobilizes the shoulder joint as well as keeping the arm close to the body.

Make sure that the individual strictly follows the instructions given by the doctor. In most circumstances, this involves using the shoulder immobilizer on a daily basis.


The medications prescribed by the doctor should be taken by the individual. In most circumstances, the doctor will prescribed anti-inflammatory medications as well as pain medications to help minimize the pain and discomfort caused by the symptoms.

Application of ice

When an individual sustained as dislocated shoulder, you can apply ice for 20-30 minutes at 3-4 hours during the two weeks after the injury. In case there is no cold pack available to use, an alternative is a bag of frozen vegetables. Take note that cold therapy helps prevent swelling as well as relieve pain in the affected area.

Sleeping position

The individual should sleep in a position that can protect the injured shoulder. If needed, you can utilize cushions or pillows to block the body from rolling onto the dislocated shoulder. In some cases, it might be required for the individual to sleep in a slightly elevated position until the arm sling is removed.

Rehabilitation program

It is vital that the individual will carefully follow the rehabilitation program recommended by the doctor or physical therapist. The program is likely to include mild exercises to stretch out the shoulder and maintain mobility of the affected joint. The physical therapist will be the one to determine the suitable activities for the condition of the individual and these should be followed accurately.


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