Did You Dislocate Your Shoulder Skiing? We've Got Treatment Options

Of all shoulder injuries sustained while skiing, more than 50% are dislocations. While a dislocation itself can typically be speedily resolved, in many cases damage is done that can increase the chances of a repeat incident. You may even end up with chronic shoulder instability!

At the Institute for Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine (IASM) in San Francisco, California, Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht treats all types of skiing injuries, including shoulder dislocations and shoulder instability. 

What to know about shoulder dislocations

A dislocation of the shoulder commonly occurs when a skier or snowboarder falls with the arm outstretched, landing with their arm rigid, and taking the shock all the way into their shoulder joint. This can cause either a subluxation, which is a partial dislocation, or a full dislocation, in which the ball comes completely out of the socket.

Most subluxation episodes cause an initial sensation of pain and/or numbness in the arm. These can be difficult to diagnose, and several dislocations may occur before the damage is discovered. Complete dislocation is easier to diagnose as the ball is clearly out of the socket, and the dislocation must be reduced (the ball popped back into the socket.)

Shoulder instability

The most common type of dislocation is an anterior dislocation, which means the shoulder pops out of place towards the front. The second most common is a multidirectional dislocation which usually results in the ligaments being loosened in two or more directions. Once any type of dislocation has occurred, recurrences are likely, and the shoulder can easily become unstable.

The most common complaint of shoulder instability is weakness and reduced range of motion when the arm is in an overhead position. Repeated dislocations make instability worse, and you may have to curtail your activities, including skiing or snowboarding. Surgery is often the best way to deal with shoulder instability resulting from one or more dislocations.

The best shoulder surgery option  

At IASM, we perform arthroscopic surgery to help resolve instability and allow you to return to the sport you love. This allows the doctor to stabilize the shoulder by repairing small tears in the ligaments without a large incision. This solution can allow you to recover fully and return to skiing or snowboarding.

If you have suffered a shoulder dislocation and are experiencing or are worried about shoulder instability, call our office at 415-230-3667 or book an appointment online.

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