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Shoulder dislocation recovery time for elderly

Shoulder dislocation can be understood as abnormal shifting of the shoulder joint from its original position. After dislocation, the shoulder is unable to perform its normal functions. It is quite a painful condition and also a significant hindrance to carrying on day-to-day activities. 

The body comprises many joints, and all of them are susceptible to dislocation if the causative factor is strong enough. However, the shoulder joint is the most likely to get dislocated due to its natural structural alignment and functions. Young children and elderly patients tend to develop shoulder joint dislocation more often than adults. One should not think of it as a genetic condition but rather as something that occurs due to undue mechanical stress on the shoulder joint and its surrounding tissues. Shoulder specialists at Hyderabad Shoulder Clinics recommend surgical intervention to treat severe or recurrent shoulder dislocation.

Irrespective of age or shoulder dislocation, every patient would like to get back to normalcy as soon as they can. Shoulder dislocation recovery in elderly patients is undoubtedly time-consuming and requires additional attention. So, let us understand it in detail in this blog.

What causes shoulder joint dislocation in elderly patients?

  • Degeneration is a natural bodily process that comes with age. As age progresses, the body tissues of older adults undergo specific changes that cause them to undergo degeneration. Degeneration affects muscles, tendons, and bones. Their musculoskeletal structure is not as robust as that of young adults. The joints have less adequate structural support due to the laxity of muscles and other connective tissue. All these factors combined lead to poor joint functions, which in turn precipitates joint dislocation. 
  • Another cause is accidental trauma, which means direct impact with a heavy object.
  • Elders may go out of balance or slip and usually try to balance with their hands, which could dislocate the shoulder. 

Treatment for Shoulder Joint Dislocation

Non-surgical treatment options: Shoulder joint replacement is not immediately recommended if the dislocated shoulder joint hasn’t caused severe damage to the surrounding soft tissue. We at Hyderabad Shoulder Clinic will recommend pain relief medicines, anti-inflammatory agents, and nutritional supplements to patients recovering from shoulder joint dislocation. Elderly patients are taught suitable physiotherapy and exercise sessions to strengthen their shoulder muscles. 

Surgical options: Shoulder joint replacement surgery is a procedure wherein the dislocated shoulder joint is replaced with a prosthesis that performs all the functions of a healthy joint. However, if the dislocation happened due to natural degeneration, then surgery is not recommended since it is more of an age-related issue. Surgery works best if the dislocation is due to a trauma.

With either of the above treatment options, the patient must continue to care for themselves even if the treatment has been concluded successfully. We at Hyderabad Shoulder Clinic will advise all of our elderly patients to avoid lifting or pushing heavy loads as much as possible to prevent the recurrence of shoulder joint dislocation.

Shoulder dislocation recovery time for elderly 

Shoulder dislocation had varying degrees of recovery based on the age of the person when the dislocation occurred. In patients younger than 40, the recurrence of shoulder dislocation is higher since they lead quite an active life. For elderly patients, though the recurrence is less, their recovery time is longer. 

For the best healing to occur in elderly patients, they have to come for regular follow-ups for a year after treatment. Their recovery would be faster if they did not have any previous shoulder surgeries or injuries.

Recovery time depends on the extent of the injury and whether the elderly patient has undergone surgery. In a simple dislocation, your shoulder joint will improve over a few weeks.

One has to wear a sling for about six weeks, gradually working on a range of motion and strength. A complete recovery takes five to six months.

We will guide you on how long you have to wear the splint. But after a week, you can remove the sling for a short period. We will teach you how to remove it and wear it again carefully.

During recovery, the shoulder mustn’t tighten or freeze. For this, we teach gentle exercises.

Within 4 to 6 weeks, the shoulder starts healing, and at this stage, the elderly patient will be referred for physical therapy. Our physical therapists will focus on stretching exercises, which will give you good shoulder movement.

As the healing progresses, our physical therapists will teach you strengthening exercises for your shoulder muscles and ligaments.

The most important thing to avoid is returning to activities before the shoulder is stable, even though you may be feeling pretty good. If the elderly patient resumes activities too quickly, it can lead to injury or possible repeat dislocation. One should avoid too much stress on your shoulder joint. Ask your provider first. So please refrain from gardening, heavy lifting, or even reaching above shoulder level. Any movement, such as reaching with your arm on the side and rotating to the back, can make the shoulder more unstable.

At any point during the recovery, if you observe redness, swelling or if the pain is increasing, please contact your surgeon immediately. We understand that our elderly patients would not want to depend on anyone for their daily activities. We also suggest that our elderly patients focus on preventing future dislocations. So we will be with you at every step of diagnosis, treatment, healing and recovery. For more information, please visit our website or contact us at +91 9959588389 or

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