Dislocated Shoulder Exercises

The anatomy of our shoulder joint is very complicated, which makes it highly susceptible to injuries and pain. The shoulder joint is basically made up of two bones, and the joint is called ball-socket joint. The ball part of the shoulder joint is the end of the upper arm bone, the humerus, while the socket is the part of shoulder blade, the scapula. This joint provides a wide range of motion, but is not very stable, which makes it prone to dislocation.


Dislocation of the shoulder joint is very painful, and it restricts the movement of the affected arm. There are two types of shoulder dislocations, that include, anterior dislocation and posterior dislocation. The former is when the ball dislocates behind the socket, and the latter occurs when it dislocates in front of the socket. Anterior dislocation is a result of application of high intensity force behind the shoulder joint or a sudden fall on out stretched arms, while posterior dislocation is when a force hits the frontal partf of the shoulder. Both the types are very common in sports. These sports include contact sports like baseball, rugby, football, or swimming.

The shoulder can also get dislocated due to an injury caused by accidents or genetic problems. The shoulder joint is susceptible to dislocation due to hereditary factors, lifting, throwing of heavy objects, etc. Sudden severe shoulder pain, which leads to inability to move the affected upper arm, is the basic symptom of a dislocated shoulder. Moreover, the shape of the affected shoulder changes from the round shape to a square shape. It is necessary that one should take an immediate X-ray to confirm the condition.


A person needs to get hospitalized to get the shoulder joint relocated. The initial treatment includes rest and medications. With gradual recovery, the patient should consult the physician, and perform exercises to improve the functioning of the affected joint. These exercises help to heal the injury, and are part of the rehabilitation required for the dislocation. It is necessary to perform these exercises, because the affected part is likely to be dislocated again, due to its reduced stability. Moreover, the ligaments, tendons, and other muscles present in the affected shoulder also get weakened. Certain exercises help to strengthen these ligaments and tendons, and improve the movement of the affected joint. Given below are the steps to perform some of these exercises.

  1. Shoulder Flexion and Abduction: Sit in a chair, or stand in an upright position. Now, hold or support your affected arm by placing the palm of unaffected arm, below the elbow of the affected arm. Then, gently move in forward direction, and move your arms to and fro. This is shoulder flexion exercise. To perform shoulder abduction, position your hands as in shoulder flexion, but move them from one side to other.
  2. Pendulum Swings: Lean on a table by placing the palm of the unaffected arm on its surface. Bring a small bend in the knee of the unaffected side, and straighten the leg of the affected side. Now, place the affected arm over unaffected thigh, and swing it gently in clockwise direction to possible extent. Repeat this 10 times, and perform anticlockwise swings.
  3. Isometric Shoulder Flexion and Extension: Stand in an upright position, and face towards the wall. Now, bend your elbow of the affected arm, and place the elbow near your side. Make a fist of your fingers, and press it against the wall, like you are trying to push it inside the wall. Hold the position for 5 seconds, and perform 3 sets of this exercise, with each set containing 10 repetitions. This was isometric shoulder flexion. To perform isometric shoulder extension, stand near the wall with your back touching the surface of the wall. Place your affected upper arm on the wall surface, and bring a right angled bend in your elbow. Try to push your elbow against the wall. Hold the position for 5 seconds, and perform 3 sets of this exercise, with each set containing 10 repetitions.
  4. Resistance Band Flexion and Extension: To perform the resistance band flexion, stand facing towards the resistance band, and hold its ends with your affected arm. Bring a bend in your elbow, pull the band in backward direction, and gently get back to neutral position. For resistance band extension, stand with the resistance band behind your back. Hold the end of the resistance band, and pull it in forward direction. Get back to the neutral position in a controlled motion.

Dislocated shoulder exercises should be performed only on a physician’s recommendation. It is necessary to verify whether the affected shoulder joint has recovered enough to sustain the strain caused, while performing the exercises. It is also recommended that you should know the appropriate precautionary measures from your physician.

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