How to treat a dislocated shoulder – Larry Hughes

Larry Hughes holds a special place in my memories. He played at St. Louis Univeristy and brought the team closer to a national championship than they had been in a while. Larry has had an up and down pro career, bouncing among various teams. He’s found a home with the Chicago Bulls, but trouble has come.

Larry Hughes dislocated his shoulder in a game against the Timberwolves. The prognosis isn’t good Larry and the team is saying he’s going to miss six weeks. Seriously?

Yep. Dislocated shoulders are nasty things. Sometimes they cause more damage than apparent, which is why Hughes is having a contrast MRI tomorrow.

How do you dislocate your shoulder? Were you aware your shoulder is the most movable joint in your body? It is, which means it is also the joint that is easiest to injure. You dislocate your shoulder when you stress the joint too much and the bone pops out. Yeah, it’s s gross as it sounds. A majority of the time this doesn’t affect the way your arm is positioned, but sometimes it leads to your arm being stuck in the up position. It’s funny.

What are the symptoms of a dislocated shoulder?Pain. Lots of pain running from your shoulder down your arm. Eventuallly, your arm is going to get numb and this leads to an inability to really position it. In most cases you’ll be able to see something is wrong with your shoulder just by looking at it.

How do you treat a dislocated shoulder? Pop it back in. This process is called reduction and there are over 20 different ways to do this. Is it going to hurt when you pop it back in? Depends on if the muscles in your shoulder have time to spasm. If they started spasming it’s really, really going to hurt. Ask for narcotics. Once the doctor has popped your shoulder back into place you’ll need a sling.

McDavid Thermal Shoulder Wrap with Gel Pack

The doctor is going to want an xray or MRI to ensure the shoulder is back in place and no damage is noticed to the underlying area.  If the xray or MRI shows the shoulder isn’t in the right place you might need surgery.

How long does it take to recover from a dislocated shoulder? A few weeks at least as your joint heals. Ligaments will need to bounce back, so your strength is going to decrease. On the most serious injuries you’ll need physical therapy to ensure your range of motion and strength return.

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