There is growing evidence that if a young athlete dislocates his shoulder and plays a physically demanding contact sport – They should have surgery. This is because the shoulder becomes unstable following this and the chances of further dislocations are incredibly high.
In a study by Slaa et al, it was found that:
- Over-all recurrence rate of 24%
- There is a huge 64% recurrence rate in patients under 20 years of age
Also a literature review found an average recurrence rate of 67%, with much less chance of re-injury if the patient is older than 40 years of age.
The most important findings in these studies are that you have very high chance of sustaining further dislocations if you are an athlete (82% – simonet and Cofield) and/or are a young person.
A large part of this is because damage has occurred to the labrum – This is the tissue that helps make the shoulder socket larger and suck the ball of the shoulder joint in. If the labrum is torn (which it often is in shoulder dislocation) this causes a break in the negative pressure in the joint – it has lost the suction – meaning it is easier to “pop out” again.
Think of shoulder joint like a golf ball sitting on a tee – The ball of the shoulder is much larger than the socket (the tee), so to make the socket larger, the labrum comes off the socket to add more stability.
So if you have dislocated your shoulder, are young and/or want to continue playing a contact sport…
- Go have your shoulder assessed by your Physio
- Get referred to an orthopedic specialist if they deem it necessary
- Rehab your shoulder well and get your rotator cuff as strong and stable as you can.
Do it right the first time.
Yours in good in health,