Adult Dislocated Shoulder
On this page
- What has happened?
- What should I expect?
- What should I do?
- What should I not do?
- Will I be followed up?
- What if I have concerns/questions?
What has happened?
- You have dislocated/disrupted your shoulder - this means your upper arm bone has moved out of its joint
- As shoulders are generally very mobile, this is a common injury in the young
- Your shoulder will have now been put back into place by Emergency Department (ED) staff
What should I expect?
- You will likely need to wear a sling for 1-3 weeks
- During this time, you may need simple pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
- Recurrent dislocation is the most common complication, and is more likely in people under 30 years old
- You will likely be able to return to sport after 12 to 16 weeks
What should I do?
- It is important to get your shoulder moving after the period of immobilisation in a sling. Start by leaning forward with the arm hanging down and rotating it in small circular movements
- You may wish to see a physiotherapist to help with rehabilitation - remember to take your ACC form/number with you
What should I not do?
- It is important to avoid putting your shoulder into any extreme positions for the first several weeks following your injury
Will I be followed up?
- Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted about a date and time
What if I have concerns/questions?
- If you have problems with the rehabilitation of you shoulder, you should see your GP first - take your ACC form/number with you
- If your shoulder does not settle or if you have another dislocation, then your GP or physio may refer you to an orthopaedic specialist who will decide if you need surgery