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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Dislocated Shoulder?

What Is Dislocated Shoulder?

Dislocated Shoulder is an extremely painful condition of the shoulder which usually happens after an injury or fall on an outstretched shoulder. Shoulder Dislocation is mostly seen in individual who play contact sports like football, hockey, and rugby. An individual can also have a Dislocated Shoulder after a fall on the outstretched shoulder. Anatomically speaking, a shoulder is said to be dislocated when the bone of the arm moves out of its normal anatomical position and causes significant damage to the surrounding tissues and muscle structures.

Dislocated shoulder results in extreme pain in the affected individual. It also becomes almost impossible for an individual to move the affected arm in any direction. There may also be swelling, bruising, and skin discoloration in the affected region. The affected individual may also hear an audible popping in some cases at the time of dislocation. Dislocated shoulder will also look visibly out of place when compared to the opposite uninjured shoulder.

If there is any damage done to the nerves during a Shoulder Dislocation then the affected individual will also feel numbness and paresthesias radiating down the arm signifying a neurological damage as a result of dislocated shoulder. The shoulder in majority of the cases dislocated anteriorly or in the front and rarely is there a case of a posterior Shoulder Dislocation.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Dislocated Shoulder?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Dislocated Shoulder?

As stated, Shoulder Dislocation occurs when the shoulder pops out of its normal anatomical position as a result of a severe jerk, fall, or push. It causes the ligaments in the shoulder to significantly stretch. A single event of dislocated shoulder may keep an individual out from sports or other strenuous activities for quite a significant amount of time.

As soon as there is a confirmed diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder, the affected arm will be immobilized. This immobilization is done to allow the shoulder enough time to heal adequately. This period of immobilization will be for approximately a period of two to three weeks.

Once the inflammation has calmed down and the individual feels less pain with any attempts at movement of the shoulder then the arm may be taken out of the sling for gentle range of motion and strengthening exercises as the shoulder will tend to get significantly stiff as a result of immobilization.

It is imperative to consult a physical therapy specialist who can formulate a detailed therapy regimen for the shoulder to get it back in shape. Normally, it takes about two weeks of rigorous physical therapy to get the shoulder moving again without much pain or difficulties.

Thus, it will take approximately 6-8 weeks to get the shoulder moving after a Shoulder Dislocation. With aggressive physical therapy the individual may regain all the lost strength as a result of dislocated shoulder.

Therefore, for cases of dislocated shoulder, if there is no significant damage to the ligament structures and nerves then it may take about 10-12 weeks for an individual to get back into normal activities. In case if there is significant damage to the ligaments and tendons to the extent that a surgery is required to correct the abnormalities then it may take an addition two to three months to recuperate from the surgery. Hence it may take an overall of six months for an individual to recover from dislocated shoulder even though the pain may be felt for up to approximately a year or so after surgery for a Dislocated Shoulder.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Dislocated Shoulder. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dislocated-shoulder/symptoms-causes/syc-20371715
  2. MedlinePlus. (2021). Dislocated Shoulder. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/dislocatedshoulder.html
  3. Wilkerson, R. D., Pappas, A. M., & Noeker, M. (2015). Rehabilitation of shoulder instability. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 8(4), 434-441 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12178-015-9297-4

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2023

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