JONNY KELLY: A guide to shoulder dislocation

By Jonny Kelly

THE shoulders are the most flexible joints in the body. They can rotate and move in every direction.

The joint is surrounded by muscles called the rotator cuff, as well as several ligaments.

In addition, there is a thick ring of cartilage called the labrum between the ball and socket.

Despite these structures proving stability, the shoulder can be forced out of the joint. This is known as shoulder dislocation and it can occur while playing sport.

How does a dislocated
shoulder happen?

When significant force is applied to the shoulder, the ball of the joint is forced out of the joint (dislocated).

This can happen from falling onto your arm, or from a forceful tackle. The joint can move out of the joint in a forward or backwards direction.

The injury will often result in other associated injuries such as fractures and torn tendons, ligaments andor cartilage.

A shoulder dislocation will be obvious because:

●l A player will not to able to move their arm and it will be very painful

●l A player will use their other arm to hold the injured arm in place

●l The shoulder will look out of shape

Should you pop your
shoulder back in?

You should not try to pop your shoulder back in yourself as this may cause more damage.

Players should attend Accident and Emergency to get an x-ray to rule out a fracture first.

The shoulder joint can then be placed back in the joint by a medical professional.

There is also a nerve called the axillary nerve which passes close to the joint.

Trying to pop a shoulder back in may cause further damage to this nerve.

Can you return to sports
after a dislocated shoulder?

Most athletes who have dislocated their shoulders can return to sport after their joint has had time to heal and they have regained their strength.

It is very important to engage in a rehabilitation programme to strengthen the shoulder and to help prevent it from happening again.

How long does
rehabilitation take?

Athletes with a first-time shoulder dislocation can typically return to the game within six weeks after the injury.

Younger athletes may need more time to recover to prevent a recurrence.

If your dislocation requires surgery, you may need up to six months to recover.

Are you frustrated with injury?

Physio Performance is a leading Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic in Belfast.

We have helped get world-class athletes back on the pitch, and performing at their best.

Contact us for a complimentary Sports Injury Consultation at

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

No tags for this post.

Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW