About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles --- all geared to improve your quality of life. Please read our Disclaimer

55 comments on “Shoulder Dislocation Surgery

  1. When I have my arm barley straight out my shoulder I guess pops out from the back a little and you can see it pop out, when I have it out more you can see that my shoulder ball thing goes further out and my arm goes down because of that. Than when I rotate my arm backwards each time I’ll hear it pop. After my arm is down it starts to hurt my shoulder a lot. Should I see a doctor or get my shoulder/ arm massaged?

  2. My shoulder pops several times a day and immediately after the popping if feels better. I have no weakness at all in the shoulder and working out actually makes it feel better. I don’t recall any injury to it and it all started one morning after waking up. Is my shoulder dislocating continuously and popping back into place making it feel better?

    1. It is possible … but a good physical exam is needed to determine if that is the reason why your shoulder is popping.

  3. I dislocated my shoulder for the first time about 2 weeks ago. Im in a sling right now and I tried to move my arm up and it keeps catching and popping and it hurts so bad. I have torn my labrum previously this year. I’m 14. I go to see a surgery specialist this week. Do you think im going to need surgery?

    1. I don’t know Marissa …. An examination and a review of your MRI help us determine the best way to treat you.

      Good Luck

  4. I lifted a cast iron skillet last year and did not realize that it was heavy. Ever since that my left shoulder keeps cracking and yes it is getting very sore. My husband said I may of tore it. If I don’t get it checked he said it may get worse. I just had a full hip replacement in March and now I have to go and get this checked? I am afraid I did do something to it. I waited to long for my hip and over a year it got so worse that it bone on bone and if I would of got it checked earlier it may of not been so bad. So should I tell my Dr. that did my hip my problem when I go back to him or should I just let it go? Thank you! Sincerely Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa…
      Talk to your primary care doctor… perhaps you only need a little therapy. It may give you peace of mind to speak with someone and be evaluated.

  5. Playing highschool football (13 yrs ago) i severely dislocated my shoulder. Over the years it continued to pop out more times than I care to remember, the pain is unbearable, each time I have to wrestle it back into place. However, I just started noticing a grinding sound and sensation in said shoulder when I’m doing pushups or even just rotating my shoulder a certain way. Although the grinding sensation does not hurt, do you think it will get worse, and should I keep trying to exercise with it?

    1. You may wish to talk to a shoulder doc about stabilizing the shoulder to prevent further damage.

  6. I have dislocating shoulders. I have had multiple surgeries to keep my shoulders in place but they always end up dislocating in the end. I went to the Boston specialist. I have no tears, just unstable shoulders that will not stay in the socket. I dislocate from the back and front. Is there anything I can do?

    1. It’s a VERY complicated problem … In a few series published over the years, the procedure of last resort has been a shoulder fusion. That’s not to say that’s what you need… but a good exam by a good shoulder doc is the first step. Most people with very loose shoulders have no abnormality on MRIs… they just have very loose ligaments.

    2. Please feel free to reach out to me on Curely — Where I answer everyones questions. The app can be found at https://www.curely.co Curely allows communication via text or email. Curely is a global platform that enables physicians to assist patients from around the globe who have questions before or after their visits with their own physicians.

  7. Hi… My 16 year old son has had 7 dislocations from force (mostly snowboard related falls)with the last one being last Dec… He’s been doing physio since Jan and has managed to keep it solid while riding however in May it slipped out twice in his sleep… So he’s now seen a shoulder surgeon and is scheduled for a bankart surgery… We’ve encountered some others suggesting prolotherapy could possibly help him and could possibly avoid the invasiveness of surgery … What are your thoughts… Is his problem now more mechanical than muscular and is surgery the best option…he will want to return to fairly high level snowboarding when he can…
    Thanks in advance for any advice….

  8. Our 11 year old son dislocated his shoulder in football it was put back in on the sidelines and MRI shows no tears or fractures. Seeing the ortho in a few weeks but wondering with no tears is surgery to tighten needed?

  9. I dislocated my shoulder last Saturday.the surgeon says I need an operative procedure.the report says I have a dislocation of the joint and avulsion of the greater tuberosity.

    Your opinion as to surgery?

    1. it depends on how displaced the greater tuberosity is. Most of these go back into position after the joint is reduced and do not require surgery. Most heal fine… a few which remain displaced might benefit from surgery. try a second or third opinion or ask your current surgeon why he/she is recommending surgery.

  10. 6 months ago during a basketball tournament to players sandwich me (unable to think of a alternate description) I did not feel any pain, but I could feel a discomfort. However the next day have a substantial amount of pain and every time I moved my shoulder back there were many pops. I went to an osteopath who did a few tricks and lessened the clicks to about three every time. I am only 16 and my shoulder still pops and every morning there is a large click back in place. I sometimes feel pain when I am training any advice would be appreciate, I am worried that I could be causing long term damage.

  11. My solduer dislocated at football practice. I then began seeing psychial therapists to help regain strength. After 4-5 months of it functioning normally, I was surprised that it came out easily when I was at the beach. It came out when I was riding a wave. Several months after that. It felt normal again. I was doing push ups and working out with no complications but then at a sleepover, I played capture the flag and when I tried to pull someone’s flag, it came out easily again. I don’t want to consider surgery quite yet so is there much I could do to keep my shoulder from popping? Since it happened three times already, I feel like it will keep hapenning.

  12. I dislocated my shoulder two days. This is the second time I dislocated it, first being about 10 months while I was wrestling. This time however it took 45 minutes to about an hour to pop back. Last time within 10 seconds it was back in but this time I went to the hospital and they put me to sleep and popped it back in. I dislocated my shoulder without any contact or anything this time, just by grabbing a basketball from the ground.
    I was wondering if there was more damage done to the shoulder since it took almost an hour for it to go back in place? Also, do you think surgery is the best option, and if so then how long is the recovery time? How long will it take before I’m back at a high intensity level of wrestling again?


      1. Thanks for the quick reply! How long is the recovery process after surgery as I would like to start competing in wrestling again?

  13. My shoulder popped out and back in about a year and a half ago in a football game. Ever since, any quick overhead movements causes my shoulder to pop out and back in. Right after this i feel sore for a couple days and then back again. The “slipping” of my shoulder joint has happened about 10 times since the initial injury. I have started PT for my shoulder but, given my symptoms do you know if PT will heal my shoulder or is surgery needed?

  14. my son is going for arthroscopic surgery to repair his shoulder (frequently dislocates) so that he can return to athletics.

    My question is regarding the recovery period. How long before he can travel? How soon does he start physiotherapy. He’s 17 and keen to do both travel and return to sports.
    thank you

    1. That varies depending on the type of procedure he is having and your surgeon’s own preferences.

  15. I’ve dislocated my shoulder more times then i can remember, i clearly need an operation, my question is could i have done too much damage to the joint? Could an op still work?

    1. HI Brent… the key to optimizing the chance of success depends on many different variables. Our decision on which procedure to pursue depends on your exam and your MRI findings. People who have had multiple dislocations can usually be treated successfully, but that will depend on what we see at the time of your exam and the experience of your surgeon in handling this unique group of patients.

  16. Hi I was wondering I broke my cooler bone but I never got it fixed it happens 6 years ago can it still be fixed case it’s noticeable and I’m really paranoid about it

    1. you’ll trade your bump for a big scar …. the question is not can it be done, the question is should it be done.

  17. I dislocated my shoulder whilst serving in the Armed Forces in 2006, within the first year it had dislocated fully 4 times. I left the armed forces and did not get this fixed. I have a full dislocation requiring a&e yearly, Not just dropping forward but posterior as well. I have just been given private healthcare by my workplace and I don’t think I can go through that pain again, is surgery definitely on the cards and how long is the recovery process after roughly. I’m a Hgv Driver now.
    Many thanks

    1. Recovery truly is subjective in this context. Recovery to being able to type, eat, bathe, etc is usually 6 weeks. Physio takes 4-6 months for strength return. Throwing, overhead sports can be delayed 8-12 months depending on the injuries and type of surgery.

  18. My husband initially dislocated his shoulder 9 years ago. His brother used to put it back in, now I do. We have been married 5 years, it has come out at least a dozen times since. He is now getting therapy, but it just seems to make the pain worse. He has just seen a doctor who is saying he should do six more weeks of therapy. I have noticed his shoulder is getting harder to put back in, and I am worried. I am not always there, and most are too afraid to touch him. It came out while he was driving once, but I was in the car.
    Is it normal for them to suggest therapy after it coming out at least 2 dozen times over a 9 year period?

  19. Sir, I have had 3 cases of subluxation in my right shoulder in the past 4 months. Although I am undergoing ultrasound and laser therapy, and doing all the exercises given to me by the doctor, there doesn’t seem to be any progress.my shoulder still hurts when I rotate my arm or reach out to something behind me.I am a basket ball player and I need to start playing again as soon as possible, but my shoulder feels really vulnerable and I feel that it might come out at any moment(if I extend my arm backwards, try to throw something or catch something). How to I prevent this from happening again and again ?

    P.S- I am 16 years old.

    1. HI …
      If PT is not helpful in “stabilizing” your shoulder then you should consider seeing a shoulder specialist to find out why your shoulder is subluxating — loose ligaments vs torn labrum, etc…. and then your doctor can start to run through the various treatment options with you.

  20. Hi I dislocated my shoulder 11 days ago , unable to lift my arm unaided . Pain has seemed to be increasing in my shoulder daily . First time I’ve ever done this 52 year old lady . Not seen the consultant for 3 wks . Only been given 2 exercises to do in the mean time .

    1. The reason why a shoulder dislocates will change depending on our age. For teens and folks in their 20’s and 30’s they will dislocate because they injured their ligaments and labrum. Once we reach our 50s … dislocations tend to be because we have very large tears in our rotator cuff. Best to get a good exam, and if significant weakness is present, then we usually image the rotator cuff with an Ultrasound or MRI… and on occasion need to test the nerves too to be sure they are functioning well.
      Good Luck

  21. I dislocated my shoulder at footy the other day. it was out for only 3 to 5 seconds I’d say, and I grabbed it and popped it back in myself unintentionally I got X-ray and it’s all good it’s a little sore but I’m able to put up with it. I’m seeing a physio tomorrow, how long do u think recovery time will be? I’m 16

  22. I had dislocated my shoulder 8-10 times, last time it was 4 years ago, since then i took precautions while doing other activities .Now I am 42 years old, is it right time to go for surgery to repair. My doc advises it , otherwise later operation would be a problem or muscles would further become weak.Pls advice

  23. I dislocated my shoulder 1 year ago and i went to the ER to have it popped in playing football. Since then it’s popped out around 15 times while playing high school football and wrestling and it’s really interfering with my level of play. I really want to be able to play at full speed again and I can’t with my shoulder popping out. If i get surgery how long will I be out and will I be able to play my high contact sports again?

  24. I dislocated my left shoulder for the first time in 1995. After recurrent dislocations I had a surgery in 1999. To explain it in layman terms, the doctor said to me me that a screw was put in place to keep my shoulder from dislocating. However, even after the surgery I’ve had recurring dislocations – one as latest as last week. The last time I visited an orthopaedic doctor was about two years ago and he said that there has not been much medical breakthrough in how to better address this issue. His opinion was that even if they performed another surgery on me, there is no guarantee that the dislocation would not recur. please advise!

    1. Hmmm… well, the research and our understanding has changed a ton in those 20 years. Our techniques have matured as well. Time for a second opinion perhaps.

  25. Hello Dr Luks,

    I first dislocated my shoulder back in 2005 and since then have dislocated it on average once a year. I have now roughly dislocated it 15 times. Today i saw a surgeon who suggested that i would need arthroscopic latarjet surgery – which to be sounded quite serious.

    I am just wondering whether considering the amount of dislocations i have had you think this may be the best solution to avoid it reoccurring in a few months? I realise it is difficult to say when you have not seen the MRI/x-rays but was just wondering your thoughts.

    Here is the summary of report after MRI/x-ray:

    1. Tear of the antero inferior glenoid labrum with cortical irregularity and a focal bony defect in the antero inferior gelnoid rim is suggestive of a bony and soft tissue Bankart’s lesion. A hill sach’s defect if seen along the postero lateral aspect of the humeral head with subtle marrow edema adjacent to it. The inferior gleno humeral ligament is intact.

    2. The insertions of the rotator cuff around the shoulder are normal. There is no atrophy of the muscles.

    Finally would you say that exercise like swimming is probably not recommended now as i may stretch the ligaments further making recovery more difficult?

    Many thanks

    1. A Laterjet is one option … After so many dislocations you now have soft tissue (ligament stretching and labral tear) issues as well as bone issues (eroded glenoid and large hill sachs). If both the soft tissue and bone are not addressed your chance of failure is high.

      A latarjet is a solid procedure with a good track record when used in the right situation. An arthroscopic latarjet is very technically challenging… so make sure your surgeon has performed this many many times.

      Good luck.

      1. Thanks for the prompt response. Ok I was just a little concerned as I was rushed through the appointment.
        What would you say with regards to the swimming? Probably best to avoid?

  26. My shoulder popped out of place a couple yrs ago and it just kept doing it after wards and now it’s to the point where it just pops out over the littlest movements…. I can be sleeping n roll the wrong way on my shoulder and it will pop out or I can reach up over my head and it will pop out… one day I just tossed my remote sideways on my bed it popped out… I was and zumba doing jumping jacks and it popped out it’s just getting to the point now where the least little things make it pop out of place… it takes me a gd couple min to get it to pop back in place and hurts soooo bad when it happens… then once I get it back in place my hurts and stays sore for a gd 2-3 days… what should I do or what do you think I need to do… thanks crystal

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