Question - Shoulder Dislocation (gunslinger immobilization)

This upcoming Sunday will be six weeks since my shoulder dislocation. I am a baseball player and dislocated my non-throwing shoulder. The shoulder was dislocated sliding back into a base and another player steped on my shoulder. I have been prescribed a gunslinger immobilizer.


What is confusing to me is that my doctor told me 4 months before I can swing or play. However, my therapist said it only takes 12 weeks for ligaments to heal. So why can't I come back after 12 weeks instead of 4 months.

Next question is that when six weeks arrives, I will be taking my immobilizer off. The doctor said I can start weight lifting again as long as I avoid overhead lifts and bench press. So with this I was wondering if I can squat. I was wondering if the weight on the back of the shoulder would be bad.

Finally,

Can I do sprints?

Jog?

Agilities?

Thank you for helping me and look forward to a response.

Comments for Question - Shoulder Dislocation (gunslinger immobilization)

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Aug 16, 2008
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healed vs. ready to play
by: Bart - SII

Your therapist is close with regards to tissue healing - most ligaments are healing fairly well within 12 weeks - however, the tissue will continue to remodel and get stronger for several more months - thats why professional baseball players take 9-12 months to come back from a shoulder surgery.

While the healing at 12 weeks will be good, there is a big difference between being "healed" and being ready to play. And this is especially true since you were immobilized for 6 weeks in a gunslinger. Because of the dislocation and not having surgery, you are going to have some looseness in your shoulder - so the muscles in your shoulder and upper back are going to have to work harder to keep your shoulder stable because the ligaments are not as tight. Rehab to get this all back to normal take some time. If this was your throwing arm, you would be looking at 6 months or more if you were my patient.

It all comes down to getting the strength and function back. 4 months is a pretty good timeline to start swinging again.

As far as other exercises: Squats probably won't be a problem because of the weight, but more because getting your shoulder rotated back to hold the bar. That external rotation may be restricted initially, or it may be uncomfortable - I would recommend trying front squats to start out with, but check with your PT and doctor.

Running and sprints should be ok after a few weeks out of the sling. Agilities would also probably be fine, but again, check with your PT and doctor.

Bart

Aug 18, 2008
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Further Questions about shoulder dislocation
by: Anonymous

First, thanks for the informative and quick response:

Other questions regarding same injury-

Is it ok to lift weights at the six week mark after having the gunslinger? If not, what would be a good time period?

What is the reason that there is a waiting period of a couple weeks before I can run, jog, agilities?

When is it ok to take basic groundballs?

Is there a brace or any other sports medicine product that I could wear in the future to reduce my chances of another dislocation?

Aug 18, 2008
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More Questions...
by: Bart - SII

If you were my patient, I would have you in a structured rehabilitation program when you come out of your gunslinger. You could do lower body exercises, but that would be somewhat limited based on your upper body strength - my goal would be to re-establish your shoulder stability and muscle control, and then work on building strength. After 6 weeks of immobilization, you will be weak, and your shoulder stability will be compromised by lack of muscle coordination. So, lifting needs to be supervised and coordinated.

Believe it or not, running can be somewhat rough on an injured shoulder because of the pounding - most of my surgical shoulder patients dont run for at least 3 months after their surgery simply because it makes them sore and it slows things down. So, after you come out of the gunslinger, it may take a couple weeks to get you ready to run again - it varies for every person.

Groundballs would probably be ok once you get a little shoulder strength and coordination back - I would check with your doctor on this one.

They do make shoulder harnesses that are designed to help reduce the likelihood of dislocation - but in my experience, a good rehabilitation program that focuses on shoulder stability, scapular stabilizer and rotator cuff strength, and neuromuscular control is far better than any brace out there - if you were a football player, I might recommend a brace, but not for baseball if you go through the rehab process.

Bart

Oct 13, 2008
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surgery
by: Anonymous

dude ask your doctor about surgery it happened to me.

Jan 27, 2009
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I'm in gunslinger now, week 2
by: AnonymousEric

I had a torn rear labrum - not quite as severe as dislocation, but close. I've had to have ligaments re-anchored to bone with biodegradable pins and sutures. I'm looking at almost the same time frame with the slinger, 4-5 weeks, but 4-6 months before getting back to the gym at normal levels and sparing or grappling.
In the mean time, I'm hitting the recumbant bike pretty hard, doing speed squats with zero weight and high reps, plus doing leg raises off my back with the med ball between my knees. Trying to stay fit is hard. What's harder is SLEEPING. While it was recommended I sleep with the gunslinger I found it rode up at night and compressed my elbow up into the shoulder joint! Obviously causing more pressure and pain than is good for healing. So I've taken to sleeping without it, but I Ace bandage a pillow to my arm (at the armpit) to keep it at my side and stop me from rotating or reaching.
What are your thoughts or experience with sleep?

Aug 23, 2009
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Continuous pain after shoulder surgery
by: Anonymous

I had shoulder surgery back in April of 2009. The doctor repaired a partial torn rotator cuff, partial tear in bicep and removed a bone spur. It is now 4 months after surgery and I am still having discomfort. My shoulder aches alot and at night it's the worst. If I try to turn in the middle of night and end up sleeping on that shoulder my shoulder is painful and my arm goes numb. My doctor said that I am going to know that I had surgery for up to a year, but my question is should I still be having this ache? Is this common?

May 31, 2010
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first dislocation...what do i have to do?
by: Greg 7

Hello and congatulations for your page,

I'm a 27 years old soccer playerand had my first shoulder dislocation about 3 weeks ago whilst playing soccer for my team...i was pushed and fell on my outstreched arm which caused my shoulder dislocation-the most painfull experience ever!..after the relocation my shoulder was immobilised with a sling...i had x ray and mri...the mri showed a minor Hill Sachs lesion which the orthopedic doctor explained as not a major problem and a Bankart Lesion which as he said is likely to need surgery in the future as it usually causes instability of the shoulder...

As you can understand i want to avoid surgery if possible..i've read some of your post which imply that if correct tratment by early immobilization and PT can prevent surgery after first dislocation...I would appriciate some advise on my injury as to how long should i keep my shoulder immobilised with a sling and when to start physio therapy and whats the best way to go with it?...which is the time frame u recomend for:

1) Getting out of a sling (doctor said between 4-6 weeks)

2) Start physiotherapy

3) Resume soccer spesific training
(running,agility, ball work shooting passing etc)

4) Get back into playing

Currently i only do cycling to keep my aerobic fitness levels and thats about it. Also would glucosamine be beneficial for this kind of injury?

Looking forward for your reply.

Regards,

Greg

Oct 20, 2010
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Surgery in 3 weeks
by: Joe

I suffered a possible (docs said it was back in place by the time I arrived at the hospital) dislocation after being tackled on the beach. I was in a simple sling for a week and then just worked my self back into full use. Started swimming again after 3 weeks and was doing 3-4000 yards 3-4 times a week and was near 100% strength. then six weeks after first injury i dislocated fully while wakeboarding. xray and mri showed a frontal labrum tear and I've been in a gunslinger for 2 weeks now and am scheduled for surgery in 3. Many people who i have spoke to say that at my age, 23, surgery is my best bet because of my activity level. Friends that have had similar stories tend to agree. I will try to let this thread know what my outcomes are for a few stages. But was wondering if anyone had some other good post op workouts that will keep me at some sort of decent fitness and keep me from going nuts from cabin fever?

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