We are a week into the World Cup and, so far, there have been plenty of goals, the odd surprise result or two and, thankfully, very few injuries. In fact, the injury that has grabbed the headlines was the dislocated shoulder sustained by England Manager Gareth Southgate while jogging. The same injury that almost prevented Egypt and Liverpool star Mohammed Salah from appearing in the competition.


Dislocated shoulders occur when your humerus (upper arm) pops out of your shoulder socket. Given the shallowness of the shoulder socket, this is one of the easiest joints to dislocate and normally arises as a result of a heavy fall, especially in contact sports such as football and rugby. When the shoulder is dislocated, there is more movement than usual and the joint becomes stable. In addition to this, damage to the surrounding soft tissue, nerves, blood vessels and bone may occur.


Treatment of dislocated shoulders varies according to the severity of the injury. You should not attempt to pop your arm back into position yourself, as you may cause even more damage. Before receiving medical attention, you should try to avoid moving your upper arm wherever possible. For additional support, you can try placing padding (pillow or folded towel or blanket) in the space between your arm and chest or fashion a simple sling with the elbow bent at a right angle.

Reducing (putting back into place) a dislocated should only be performed by a doctor. An xray will be taken prior to reduction in order to assess the severity of the injury. Once it is done, another xray is generally taken so as to check that the joint has been correctly realigned. In cases where there has been tissue or bone damage, surgery may be required.


For the first few days after you sustain the injury, you will need to wear a sling. You may be given gentle arm and shoulder exercises to help to reduce stiffness and increase strength in the affected muscles. If you experience pain, painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen should suffice. After 2 to 3 weeks, in most cases, you will be able to return to most activities, although you should avoid heavy lifting for a significantly longer period of time. In general, a dislocated shoulder takes between 12 and 16 weeks to heal after the shoulder has been put back into place. Follow up physiotherapy sessions are advised in order to regain muscle strength and movement.



If you have had a dislocated shoulder and are still experiencing problems, why not come and have a check up with our team of Osteopaths and Physiotherapists? Appointments can be made online or by calling 020 8789 3881.