Inside the Injury: Shoulder dislocation - Manchester City FC

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Season 2010/11

Inside the injury: Shoulder dislocation

  • 11 February 2011 13:37
  • Posted by David Clayton

Club doctor Jamie Butler takes us inside some of the most common injuries sustained by footballers. Shay Given was the last player to suffer a shoulder dislocation - here's the lowdown on what actually happens as we go inside the injury...

Dislocation:

“When a joint is ruptured, the bones separate, the capsule breaks and the two bones that form the joint come apart. With a ball and socket joint, it is when the humerus (ball) comes away from the adrenal part of the scapula (socket). 

"The shoulder is an unstable joint due to the amount of movement that you get from it. If you have dislocated your shoulder once, you are more likely to do so again.

"Goalkeepers are most vulnerable to this as when they are diving and their arm goes behind their head, and the armpit hits the ground which gives them less protection. Shay Given did exactly that when City played Arsenal away last season.”

Dr Butler with shoulder diagram

Diagnosis and first aid:

“If it is a first time dislocation the injured player will be in a lot of pain and they’ll know about it. They may even have heard a pop. They will have felt a crack and may have broken the bone in the arm as well as the dislocation.

"Sometimes they will feel numbness and they could have symptoms of pins and needles going down to the hand.

"There may be neck pain, sometimes some tingling, and they won’t want to move their arm. You would be able to diagnose it on the pitch.  

"Invariably they will have their shirt off and you will  need to administer pain relief, which is the gas and air which we carry as a medical team. Sometimes the shoulder will just pop back in, which can be a painful procedure in itself.”

Treatment:

“This can vary. You have the non-surgical treatment which means you have management of pain relief, have an x-ray of the injury to confirm the dislocation and make sure that there is nothing broken.

"If it is a first time dislocation you will have rehabilitation the physio, strengthening of the shoulder muscles and let the capsule repair itself.  If it happens again then you would have to consider surgery. 

"In this case you would have an operation where they tighten up the structure of either the front or that back of the shoulder, or they repair the ‘cup’ of the socket.  There is a kind of cartilage called the labrum which they can tear off which makes the cup of the socket deeper.

"We would always go for surgical repair, as it is likely to happen again without it. The surgery is quite a painful procedure, but will see the player back in about four months. This would also take away the threat of it happening again, but what it could do is limit the range of movement, which has no effect on an outfield player.

"For a goalkeeper, you need to pick the right kind of surgery to make sure he maintains full movement."

For the latest Inside the Injury, check out the February issue of ManC - out now.

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