Shoulder Dislocation Follow-up

Updated: Jun 17, 2022
  • Author: Valerie E Cothran, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Return to Play

Return to play in patients following a shoulder dislocation is determined when full range of motion (ROM) and strength have been regained. Return to play is usually sooner for older adults than for younger athletes, because the fear of redislocation is much lower in older adults. Usually, older adults can return to play within 3 months. With younger adults, conditioning can continue through shoulder rehabilitation; however, decisions about returning to play should be more conservative than those in older adults. Again, absolute criteria are full ROM and full strength.

When determining a patient's return to competitive sports, the author uses the following criteria:

  • Scapular stability through full ROM

  • Normal scapulohumeral rhythm

  • Full active and passive ROM

  • Rotator cuff strength at 80% of opposite side

  • Pain-free activities of daily living (ADLs)