Does Having a Dislocated Shoulder in the Past Make Me Prone to a Recurrence in the Future?

Does Having a Dislocated Shoulder in the Past Make Me Prone to a Recurrence in the Future?

Anyone who has experienced a dislocated shoulder knows how painful it is. Many may not realize, however, that it increases the chances of it happening again. While sometimes it is impossible to prevent another dislocation, getting professional treatment offers the best chance of recovery and the lowest odds of recurrence.

Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our top-notch team at our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, use state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment protocols to help people of all ages and activity levels with their orthopedic needs. We treat various shoulder and knee issues, beginning with conservative approaches. However, we can use the latest techniques in advanced arthroscopic and robotic surgeries and innovative treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapies.

Shoulder dislocation

The shoulder is the body's most mobile joint and most likely to experience dislocation. It occurs when the joint ball of the upper arm moves out of the joint's socket. 

Dislocation can be partial or complete and can happen in many directions, including forward, backward, and downward. Ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels can also be damaged.


Symptoms can vary but frequently occur as upper arm and shoulder pain that worsens with movement. Swelling and bruising may appear, and some people experience weakness and numbness.


Dislocated shoulders are caused by the shoulder joint getting pushed out of place by a strong force. Frequent culprits are falls, car accidents, and sports injuries. Commonly affected sports include hockey and basketball, where contact is involved, as well as gymnastics and downhill skiing, where athletes frequently fall.

Men have double the risk of women for shoulder dislocation. People between the ages of 15 and 30 also have a greater likelihood.

Finally, those who have dislocated their shoulders are more prone to it happening again. In athletes younger than 25, 9 out of 10 who have experienced this injury while playing a contact sport re-injure the same shoulder again in the future.

Diagnosis and treatment

A diagnosis is made with a physical exam and possible diagnostic imaging, such as an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound.

The first step in treatment involves our team placing the ball back in the socket. Many people wear a sling or splint to immobilize the joint and help it heal. Ice, medication, and rest will also be recommended.

As the shoulder starts to heal, physical therapy exercises can help to regain movement and strength. Making the shoulder muscles stronger is essential to reducing the chances of another dislocation in the future.

Most people don't need surgery, but if the ball can't be returned to the socket, additional damage occurred, or the shoulder has been dislocated previously, this might be a necessary treatment step.

If you've dislocated your shoulder, we can help with diagnosis and treatment. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment.

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