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Dislocated shoulder, recurrent, see a doctor or not?
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Dislocated shoulder, recurrent, see a doctor or not?

Hi,

I dislocated my shoulder on snowboarding on Friday. I put it back in place seconds after and due to a health insurance complication I haven't seen a doctor yet.

I first dislocated it in 2006, after which I had it reduced by a doctor and had it immobilised for 6 weeks I think, followed by limited physiotherapy. I subluxed it twice since then, once in 2007 and once in 2008, neither were very painful and was able to use my arm normally again soon after (so I did not see a doctor). Since then nothing until now, except weird feeling every now and then when i put my arm in an odd position.

This time it feels worse, I have been wearing a makeshift sling and could not imagine not having one. It was swollen for the first 36 hours but has gone down now.

The first time the doctor reduced it and put it in a sling, which is what I've done. I want to see a doctor eventually, once my health insurance has been sorted out, to look if surgery is necessary. But for right now is it necessary? I read somewhere that on a recurrent dislocation, immobilisation is not necessary for as long as the ligaments are already damaged, is this true? My sling being makeshift allows some movement which I am making the most of to make life easier, is this OK or should I get a proper sling which allows virtually no movement? And for how long should I wear it?

Thanks for your answer.

-dan
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Even for first time dislocators, the slings are no longer used for 6 weeks.  Currently, slings are used for comfort as needed, and then a physical therapy program is instituted to regain strength, motion, and function.
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