Non-operative Shoulder Instability Treatment


After a dislocation, the primary goal is to place the ball back in the socket.  This is usually accomplished urgently (either on the field of play, in the office or emergency room of a hospital) with a closed reduction.  Shoulder contractions and muscle spasm can sometimes make this procedure challenging, and often medication may be administered to relax the patient and allow for a gentle manipulation to be performed.  After reduction of the dislocation, a sling is usually worn for a couple of days to allow for inflammation to subside.

If it is determined that the best option of treatment is to pursue a non-surgical or conservative course of treatment, then physical therapy is usually prescribed. This involves strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and strong scapular muscles to help regain strength and stability to the shoulder joint.  This will ultimately help the patient regain full motion, reduce the sensation that the shoulder is unstable, and hopefully allow a return to a normal activity level.  Therapy is usually less effective for the younger and athletic population.


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