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Exercises For Shoulder Dislocation Recovery

Shoulder dislocation is a type of injury where the upper arm bone pops out of the socket that’s part of your shoulder, resulting in immobility of the arm and the shoulder. The shoulder is commonly prone to injuries such as falls, bumping into something, or other forms that can result in various degrees of injury. It is important to get prompt medical care such as consultation, scans and X rays done, to chart out a recovery plan that includes medication, surgery or physiotherapy depending on the scale of the injury and medical recommendation.

Dislocated Shoulder: Diagnosis And Treatment

Diagnosis of a dislocation of a shoulder can be done by visiting a medical practitioner. After an initial assessment of the site of pain, x-rays and scans can help ascertain the intensity of the injury. 

Dislocation of the shoulder can be treated in multiple ways.


This is one of the most common ways of shoulder joint dislocation treatment, if the injury is not intense. Pain relievers and muscle relaxers are often prescribed, which can help reduce inflammation and gradually heal the site of injury.

Closed reduction:

This is where a trained and qualified medical practitioner will perform gentle maneuvers for your arm, to pop back the joints in place. This is done after observing pain intensity, swelling and other factors. If done right, it can create immediate pain relief. Yeah! It's like the movies! (but under a trained professional)


Surgery can be used to help heal the joints, and place the bone in place. It is also needed if there are damages to the muscle and nerves of the area of site.


This is also a common method to treat a dislocated shoulder, where a doctor may prescribe splint, in order to immobilize the shoulder. The duration of wearing it will be decided on the intensity of injury and the time needed by your body to recover


This is often done after the splints are removed, or when the injury shows a certain level of improvement. Rehabilitation can be devised according to the needs of the patient.

Causes Of A Dislocated Shoulder

Causes of a shoulder dislocation is often some form of injury such as collision, sudden wrenching of your arms, fall, and even sometimes, sleeping in awkward positions.

Recovery Time For A Dislocated Shoulder

Like any injury, there are several factors that influence the recovery time of a dislocated shoulder. This varies from the kind of intensity of injury, to the recovery plan charted to you. Besides this age, other medical conditions also play a role in the healing process. However, in most cases, the healing period is pegged at 12 to 16 weeks, where one can begin to slowly use the arms after 2 weeks of rehabilitation. Some cases, dislocated shoulder recovery time can be between 6 to 9 weeks.

Shoulder Dislocation Exercise

Shoulder dislocations can be quite painful and can restrict your ability to carry on with your day to day functioning. To most extents, the injuries can be prevented, or the intensity minimized with simple exercises. Here are a few that might help you protect that shoulder bone from popping!

It is important to ease into the exercise regime for dislocated shoulders. This can be done with the following exercises

Shoulder Flexion

While sitting, hold the injured hand under the elbow and gently lean forward. Now rock your arm backward and forward, till the pain allows.

Shoulder Abduction

This also is performed while sitting, where you hold your arm the same way as you would in the above step, and move your arm gently sideways.

More exercise that can help improve muscle strength can be performed too, such as

Shoulder flexor

This is performed when you stand near a wall, and gently push the wall with the fist (don't worry, you don't have to move it!)

Shoulder Extensors

Keeping your back to the wall, press your elbows against the wall. Gently

Shoulder abductors

Keeping a roll of towels under your affected arm, try to squeeze it, gently

These exercises need to be performed while keeping your hands at a right angle, and your arm should not move.

Exercises To Avoid Shoulder Dislocation

How many times have you heard the saying :``prevention is better than cure” or someone said “ I told you so!” when you suffer from an injury that was preventable? Does not feel good, does it? 

Here are a few easy exercises to stop shoulder dislocation.

Countertop push ups:

These are effective ways of strengthening the shoulder, and the muscles. To do this, place your arms on a counter, the way one would while performing a push up, and perform gentle push ups, a few times, gently.

Warm up for the upper body and rotational exercises for the arm

Often injury happens due to stress, and this can be prevented by following proper warm up techniques, that allow free movement of the shoulder, and the joints. Rotational exercises can go a long way in ensuring that the joints are stable.


Physiotherapy can also be a great counter measure. Since it is tailored for the individual's needs, it allows more flexibility for the shoulders and can ensure that the shoulder and the muscles are strong and healthy. This also prevents wear and tear of the bones and muscles.

Working Out After Shoulder Dislocation

It is important to ease into the regime of working out, allowing enough time for the injury to heal. While some of the techniques mentioned above can help you ease into a workout regime, you can begin to slowly exercise after 14 weeks, or as suggested by your doctor. It is important to regain flexibility in the shoulder which can be achieved by rotational exercise and gentle push ups.

Exercises such as the Pendulum hand, where you dangle the injured hand bent over a table or a counter, push ups, flexions, abductions, can be followed in the recovery regime.

In a nutshell

Dislocated shoulders can be painful and lead to a lot of awkward conversations about how it happened. While the injury heals within 16 weeks in most cases, it is important to care for it, so that there is no impact on mobility post injury. Strengthening exercises that are easy to perform can go a long way in keeping the recovery process easier and quicker. 

Don't forget to talk to your doctor!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to heal a dislocated shoulder?

Physiotherapy exercises including shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction, and shoulder flexion can effectively heal a dislocated shoulder. Further, following the RICE method (rest, ice, compress elevate) is also highly recommended. 

Will my shoulder ever be the same after dislocation?

With proper and consistent medical attention, you can fully recover from a dislocated shoulder. However, experiencing this condition once increases the risk of future dislocations. 

How long will it take to recover from a dislocated shoulder?

It takes about 12 to 16 weeks to fully recover from a dislocated shoulder. However, you will be able to resume daily functioning within two weeks while making an effort to avoid strenuous activity. 

What is the best exercise for a dislocated shoulder?

Based on the severity, our experts recommend various exercises to effectively cope with a dislocated shoulder. However, the main exercises that have contributed to a speedy recovery include shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction, and shoulder extension.

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