Shoulder dislocations occur when the head of the humerus bone pops out of the shoulder joint. They are usually either posterior where the head of the upper arm bone or humerus dislocates out of the back of the joint or more commonly anterior where it pops out forwards.
Dislocated shoulder x rayIn most cases, the top of the upper arm bone is forced forwards when the arm is held out to the side and turned outwards or to use technical language, externally rotated and abducted. This is known as an anterior shoulder dislocation and happens in approximately 95% of all injuries.
Posterior dislocations account for around 3% of shoulder dislocations and can occur during epileptic seizures or when falling onto an outstretched hand.
Assisted ExercisesOnce the shoulder has started to heal, your therapist may start you doing active assisted exercises. This involves you using your good arm to assist the injured arm through the range of movement. Some good examples of this include:
Abduction / Adduction
- Holding onto a broomstick with both hands shoulder width apart
- Using the good arm, push the injured arm out to the side, and back towards the body.
- This should be performed in both directions, taking the injured arm across the body and away from the body (adduction/abduction)
- Lying on your back or seated in a chair, grip the hand of your injured side with the good side
- Slowly and gently bring the arms up and towards your head, and if you feel comfortable, over the head If at any time you feel like the shoulder is going to pop out, stop and return to the resting position
- Using the broomstick, this time keep your elbows into your side
- Allow the stick to move to the left and right in front of you, rotating the shoulder joint
Full Range of MotionThese involve using your muscles against gravity and work towards gaining full use of the shoulder and should cover all the movements at the shoulder joint.
- Flexion - Lift the arm in front of you & above the head
- Extension - Move the arm out behind out
- Abduction - Take the arm away from the body to the side and up above the head Adduction - Move the arm across the body Internal
- Rotation - Keep the elbow bent by your side, turn the forearm in so that your wrist touches your stomach
- External Rotation - Keep the elbow bent by your side, turn the forearm outwards so that your hand points away from you