Dislocations often occur when a person has a badly damaged rotator cuff. The looseness of the muscles that support the ball and socket will allow the ball to shift in and out of the socket. Over time the ball will eventually force its way completely out of the socket resulting in a dislocation. Dislocations can also occur if a person is tugging or pulling on an object that suddenly shifts causing the weight to jerk the arm and cause the shoulder to dislocate. Either type of dislocation can be extremely painful. The joint should be put back in place as soon as possible so the muscles that make up the rotator cuff are not damaged any more than they already are.
As long as the rotator cuff muscles and connective tissue are not badly damaged, dislocation may heal in as little as two to three weeks, depending on how we the patient follows the doctor's orders. Using the R.I.C.E. method can speed the healing process because it helps to stabilize and support the area during the healing process. If the muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff are also damaged, the healing time will take longer. In most cases, a doctor will recommend physical therapy. Dislocations can cause severe damage if left untreated. If a person experiences several shoulder dislocations, seeking the advice of a shoulder specialist is recommended.
If a shoulder has been dislocated once, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, may be overly stretched and not strong enough to hold the shoulder joint in place for any length of time. The doctor may recommend stabilizing the joint for several weeks to see if it will begin to heal. f the damage to the rotator cuff is extensive and there is no way it will be able to support the joint, the doctor may recommend some type of surgery to help correct the problem. One solution is to restructure the deltoid muscle so that it compensates for the lack of support by the rotator cuff. In extreme cases, a shoulder replacement may be recommended.