Most Common Football Injuries – Dislocated Shoulder

Most Common Football Injuries - Dislocated Shoulder

Dislocated Shoulder

Answered by David Bobb, M.D.

What is the injury?

A common football injury is a dislocated shoulder, or more often, a partially dislocated shoulder that was subluxed partially out of joint and then pops back in spontaneously.  When the shoulder subluxes or dislocates, this typically tears the glenoid labrum, the fibrocartilage rim of the glenoid socket.  The labrum serves to deepen and stabilize the joint as well as allow an attachment site for the shoulder ligaments and the long head bicep tendon.

How do you treat the injury?

In my experience, patients usually present to the office with these tears in two ways.  One is with recurrent instability/recurrent dislocation.  The other is to come in several weeks to months later due to pain and dysfunction due to the now chronic labrum tear.

If the player is not able to perform due to recurrent instability or pain, the treatment is generally MRI of the shoulder documenting the location and degree of the labrum tear, followed by arthroscopic surgery to repair and tighten the damaged areas.

Recovery from the injury?

General postop protocol for a young patient with labrum repair would involve 6-8 weeks in a soft shoulder brace.  PT would generally start toward the end of the period of immobilization because range of motion generally returns fairly quickly in this patient population.  Patients can expect to be performing normal daily activities at 8-10 weeks postop and return to sport 4-6 months postop.

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