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How long do I need to rest for a dislocated shoulder?

Q: My shoulder was dislocated recently. For how long do I need to immobilise my arm? Can I move my arm slightly?

A:You have not mentioned anything about any past history of any dislocation. Therefore I presume it is the first episode. For such dislocations the usual period of immobilisation is about 3 to 4 weeks depending on the pain tolerance of the patient. While you are on immobilisation you can move your hand and fingers within limits of pain tolerance. You could also slightly move your shoulders and elbows. Earlier the immobilisation was very rigidly followed for fear of recurrent dislocation. However, studies have shown that the possibility of recurrence is dependent on the age of the patient and not on the period of immobilisation. In the age group 20-40 years the possibility of recurrent dislocation is about 60%.

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