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The shoulder is a complex and flexible joint making it more susceptible to injury and instability. Shoulder instability is a weakening of the capsule and ligaments of the shoulder joint, allowing the ball of the humerus to slip out of the socket. A dislocation of the shoulder can happen during a high impact or traumatic incident, perhaps during a contact sport. Repeated dislocations or subluxation of the humerus from the glenoid fossa (socket) can results in chronic shoulder instability. The reason from recurrent shoulder dislocations may be due to a tear in the labrum, rotator cuff or of the capsule and ligaments surrounding the shoulder. Shoulder instability can be treated using a surgical technique called shoulder stabilisation.
Shoulder stabilisation is an orthopaedic surgery that is generally done arthroscopically meaning minimally invasive. It is performed through two or three small incisions made around the shoulder joint. A tiny camera on the arthroscope is inserted through one of the incisions to display the inside of the shoulder on a TV to allow the surgeon to view the shoulder cartilage, ligaments and the rotator cuff. Other deficits or anomalies in the shoulder joint and surrounding area may be visible.
Surgery helps restore shoulder stability by tightening and repairing the shoulders static stabilisers. The principles of the operation are to reduce the size of the stretched capsule of the shoulder joint and to reattach the torn labrum back to the bone if this was present. The procedure is designed to tighten and repair the shoulder joint which means that physiotherapy after the procedure is often necessary to help you regain mobility. It also helps regain strength while the shoulder is healing.
Following shoulder stabilisation it is important to complete a course of physiotherapy to help restore movement, stability, strength, control and function of your shoulder. Combining shoulder stabilisation and physiotherapy leads to better outcomes. As the aim of the surgery is to tighten the shoulder stabilisers you will have limited range of movement post-surgery. Physiotherapy will gradually improve movement of the shoulder joint through passive, active assisted or active exercises, or joint mobilisations. Active exercises are typical restricted until 6 weeks post-surgery in order to allow the muscles affected by the surgery to heal.
Depending on your chosen sport/activity or personal goals your physiotherapist will collaboratively tailor a rehabilitation programme to help you return to your full potential. Graded sports-specific exercises, gradual increase in weight bearing activities and a focus on control and stability of the shoulder will be key aspects of your recovery. Exercises targeting the dynamic stabilisers- the rotator cuff will also be an integral aspect of your rehabilitation. Pilates may also be a great addition to your rehabilitation to improve posture, control and ability to weight-bearing through the shoulder. We have a great selection of Pilates classes here at our clinic.
Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, all our physiotherapist are experienced in treating patients following a shoulder stabilisation procedure. Contact the clinic today to book an appointment and begin your road to recovery. Early morning and evening appointments are available.