how long to keep my arm in sling after shoulder dislocation

4 replies to this topic
  • Spiritwalker2222

Posted September 14, 2012 - 07:44 AM


I've dislocated my shoulder and am looking for advice for how long to keep my arm in the sling.

I went and saw the Ortopedic surgeon two days ago, and he said to keep my arm in the sling for 3 - 4 weeks. But my next appointment with him will be just shy of 5 weeks from when I dislocated my shoulder. I think I'll bring that appointment in a week or two, as it'll only delay when I start physio. I need to get x-rays taken again just before that appointment.

I want to ensure my shoulder heals fully but I also don't want to drag it out for no good reason.

My shoulder feels good, albiet it's in the sling all the time. If I apply pressure to the muscles on the back of my shoulder it is a little tender, but very minimally. It's currently been 6 days since I dislocated my shoulder. My shoulder was dislocated for 4 hours before it was reinserted.

What do you recommend Dr. Mark?

  • Sabeen

Posted September 14, 2012 - 04:58 PM


4 hours!!!! Jesus man, the first time my shoulder dislocated it completely tore a rotator that was already tore and tore another. I can't remember a more painful pain. I cannot imagine 4 hours till drugs and having it popped back in! I think I wore my sling for 5 weeks or so then had surgery so I was in it longer

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  • J_YZ2fittyF

Posted September 14, 2012 - 06:52 PM


If you are already seeing a doctor...who knows your case entirely...I would think going with their recommendation would supercede Dr. Mark. While he can be a great resource...he can't really give you DEFINITE answers without you being a patient and him having all the information that goes with that. Worst thing you could do is try to rush it because it feels ok when it isnt....causing stress on it....and having future issues. I mean I can see why you would want to get out of the sling, but why go against what the doctor who has all the info needed to tell you to stay in it? Could be precautionary I guess, but it could also be the fact he see's what you got going...whether it feels ok or not...You think your doctors opinion on a measily 3-4 weeks is that far off?

  • DrMark

Posted September 15, 2012 - 05:22 AM


I keep my patients immobilized for three weeks. There is little justification for longer or shorter immobization. The rate of recurrance of shoulder dislocations is related to the presence of a bone defect, the age of the patient, and the activity level. None of which can be controlled in a sling.

Edited by DrMark, September 15, 2012 - 05:22 AM.

  • BobbyBlackFinger

Posted September 15, 2012 - 05:31 AM


From personal experience, I have to say that the time spent in the sling will vary due to all kinds of circumstances. The big factors are how long the joint was out of the socket and how much you ice it. The longer the joint is dislocated, the more swelling occurs in the joint. The key is to get that sucker back in the socket as quickly as possible (future reference as you may find your self in this situation again). Second, you want to get ice on that thing the second it goes back in, and keep it rotating 20 min on 20 min off pretty much continuously or as much as you possibly can. The more you ice, the faster your range of motion will come back as the swelling goes down and stabilizer muscles / tendons have room to breath again. Don't push it. You will know when you are better. It may or may not take the full 4 weeks, keep icing!!

Once you are feeling back to normal, start working on resistance training to strengthen the joint again. You will probably always have issues with this shoulder now, or at least popping it out will be easier than before. When you're back on the bike, be aware of how your going to fall and keep your arms in to your chest if possible next time around. Falling with style will be your new best friend.

I am not a doctor, just a guy who has been in this situation multiple times.

Edited by BobbyBlackFinger, September 15, 2012 - 05:32 AM.

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