The shoulder is a fascinating joint with incredible flexibility. It is connected to the body via a complex system of muscles and ligaments. Most of the other joints in the body are very stable, thanks to the structure of the bones and ligaments surrounding them. However, the shoulder has so much movement and flexibility that stability is reduced to allow for this. Unfortunately, this increased flexibility means that the shoulder is more vulnerable to joint dislocations. It is common and there are over 10,000 cases of shoulder dislocations per year in Canada.
What is a Shoulder Dislocation and how does it happen?
As the name suggests, a dislocated shoulder is where the head of the upper arm moves out of its normal anatomical position to sit outside of the shoulder socket joint.
The shoulder joint is a ball in socket joint and is the most mobile joint in the human body. The socket, however, is quite shallow which means that the ball can come out of the socket- this is called dislocation. 90% of the time, Shoulder dislocations happen out of the front of the socket, usually, after a fall or a tackle while participating in a sporting activity. Once a shoulder dislocates once, it can come out of the socket more easily. This can lead to frequent dislocations. When the shoulder dislocates out the front, there is usually a tear in the cartilage bumper of the shoulder called the “Labrum”. This Tear in the labrum is called a “Bankart tear” and the surgery to fix it is called a Bankart repair. The shoulder has the largest amount of motion of any joint in the body. This also means it can be unstable. Like all other joints, the shoulder has ligaments for support. However, muscles surrounding the shoulder need to play a key role in controlling the shoulder, particularly the rotator cuff.
Less commonly, the shoulder can dislocate out of the back of the socket or move out the joint in multiple directions. Sometimes, the shoulder can be loose and come partially out of the joint, called a “subluxation”. The shoulder joint is the most frequently dislocated joint of the body. Because it moves in several directions, your shoulder can dislocate forward, backward or downward, completely or partially, though most dislocations occur through the front of the shoulder.
Some people have more flexible Joints than others and will, unfortunately, have joints that move out of position without much force. Other people might never dislocate their shoulders unless they experience a traumatic injury that forces it out of place. The shoulder can dislocate in many different directions, the most common being anterior or forwards. This usually occurs when the arm is raised and forced backward in a ‘stop sign’ position.
What to do if this happens
The first time a shoulder dislocates is usually the most serious. If the shoulder doesn’t just go back in by itself (spontaneous relocation), then someone will need to help to put it back in. This needs to be done by a professional as they must be able to assess what type of shoulder dislocation has occurred, and often an X-ray needs to be taken before the relocation happens.
A small fracture can actually occur as the shoulder is being put into place, which is why it is so important to have a professional perform the procedure with X-Ray guidance if necessary.
How can Physiotherapy help a Shoulder Dislocation?
Following a shoulder dislocation, your Victoria Shelbourne Physiotherapist can advise on how to allow the best healing for the shoulder. It is essential to keep the shoulder protected for a period to allow any damaged structures to heal as well as they can.
After this, a customized muscle-strengthening and stabilization program can begin. This is aimed at helping the muscles around the shoulder to provide further stability and prevent future dislocations.
The information in this article is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a Shelbourne Physiotherapist for an assessment of your condition.
Shelbourne Physiotherapy, Pilates & Massage is a locally owned health company with locations in beautiful Victoria & Saanich, British Columbia. Our clinics offer Physiotherapy, IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation) & Dry Needling, Kinesiology, Athletic Therapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Sports Rehabilitation, Pelvic Floor Pilates Classes and Research, Post-Operative Rehabilitation, Vestibular, Dizziness & Balance Rehabilitation, Women’s health (peri-partum and incontinence), Acupuncture, Hydrotherapy, Scoliosis Treatment, Clinical Osteofit Classes, Osteoporosis Treatment, Aquatherapy, Pool Therapy, Real Time Ultrasound, Arthritis and Osteoarthritis Treatment, Electrical Modalities, Pelvic Floor Physio, Pelvic Pain Physiotherapy, Incontinence Treatment, Thoracic Ring Approach Physiotherapy Treatment, Sports Physiotherapy, Chronic Pain Treatment, Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), Aquatic Therapy, Yoga, Yogalates, Saanich Physiotherapy, Polestar Pilates, Stott Pilates, Clinical Pilates, Scoliosis Treatment, Kinetic Link Training KLT and Custom Knee Bracing, Physiocanhelp.ca.
Our clinics are approved providers for WorksafeBC (WCB) Physiotherapy and ICBC Physiotherapy, Kinesiology & Rehabilitation. We are proud members of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy(CAMPT), Sport Physiotherapy Canada, SportmedBC, British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK), Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), Vestibular Disorders Association, ISST International Schroth 3D Scoliosis Therapy, International Society for Medical Shockwave Treatment (ISMST), Think Local Victoria, Canadian Federation of Independent Business(CFIB), the Orthopaedic Division of the CPA and the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia (PABC) We have a clinic located in Saanich
Shelbourne Physiotherapy staff provide clinical instruction at our Victoria Clinic for students in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. We are an accredited facility for UBC Dept. of Physical Therapy Student Practicums.
Our Saanich & Victoria Physiotherapy clinics are modern and provide a relaxed healing atmosphere with private rooms available. Many Physiotherapy clinics in Victoria work out of a single room or a basement that does not offer the equipment, resources or space to help you recover properly. Our convenient locations make our clinics easy to access from all the neighbourhoods of Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt and Oak Bay such as Dockside Green, Fairfield, James Bay, Oaklands, Fernwood, Harris Green, Jubilee, Hillside Quadra, Gonzales, Rockland, Gordon Head, Cadboro Bay, Uplands, Downtown Victoria, Cordova Bay, Arbutus, Camosun College Lansdowne Campus and the Songhees. We offer appointment times ranging from 7:00AM to 7:00PM for your convenience.Our Multidisciplinary Health Clinic is located right across the street from the Hillside Shopping Centre. we share a building with the Shelbourne Medical Centre which has a walk in clinic and many great General Practitioners.
We are a friendly, local Victoria & Saanich owned and community based health company designed to meet your individual needs. Our mission is to provide Physiotherapy and related medical services to the communities of Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Victoria West and Esquimalt and help keep these residents active and healthy. We strive to creatively and professionally maximize client functioning and promote life-long wellness.
Our experienced and dedicated Health Care Professionals include Victoria & Saanich Physiotherapists Penny Salmas, Jennifer Kolot, Mark Gottfried, Christine Carrat, Nicole Gill, Mohsen Mirzaie, Meena Sran, Phil Lawrence, Jessica Shave, Cody McEvay, Kathy Murdoch, Ruan Le Roux, Nina Bai, Seung Bai, Kira Crover, Sarah Hubbs, Mary-Anne Levson, Ignacio Parodi, Hilary Beck, Ignacio Parodi and Blair Braz. Our experienced Victoria BC Kinesiologists include Kira Crover, Heidi Nottelman, Our experienced Victoria & Saanich BC Registered Massage Therapists include Taryn Krizan, Selena Curvelo, Jennifer Koebernick, Kathy Pantalon, T’airah Bowker RMT, Molly Scott, Jessica Bundy RMT, Laura Jones and Rebekah Neubert. Our Victoria Athletic Therapists are Tegan Johnson and Cheryl Mah. Our Certified Victoria Pilates and Yoga Instructors include Chantelle Shah-Poulin, Lisa Hostman, Danielle O’Reilly, Stephanie Cadman & Chris Csak,