T Nation

Shoulder Relocation

Last month I dislocated my shoulder. It’s only the second time in twenty years. My doctor has given me rotator cuff exercises with an elastic band and he’s said I need to stay out of the gym (or at least, not work chest or shoulders) for six to eight weeks. That same doctor said squats are bad for your knees and there’s never a good time to do deadlifts. T-folks, any experience with dislocations? How long did you wait before resuming training? I appreciate the consensus wisdom of this board. Thanks.

I have dislocated my shoulder about thirty times, but only once post operation. You really need to rest it from serious lifting until you get (mostly) pain free range of motion back. Get a physio to help you rehab it, because many different problems can arise from dislocation. Stretched ligaments, torn muscles, damaged cartilage or all of the above. Your doctor may not be able to tell how much damage has occurred for a couple of weeks.

It is a long road to having totally healthy shoulders again. More recently, I have found that movements such as one handed snatch, Saxxon side bends and bent presses really help it to feel stable in all planes of movement, but I have been rehabbing for over a year and a half, and these lifts are still sometimes difficult for me. Be persistent, and you will get back your stability.

Thanks. Not the advice I’d hoped for, but it will temper my eagerness to resume training. I’m guessing that was a real drag, dislocating your shoulder yet again after you finally got the operation. Also, I’m sorry to not catch on here, but what do you mean by “bent presses?” Perhaps it’s a typo for bench presses, but more likely, it’s an exercise I don’t immediately recognize.

For a description of the bent press, check out this link.


Yeah, I dislocated it post-op diving from a pier. It was feeling really strong at the time too as I was doing 9 hours of martial arts per week, hundreds of pushups, and dozens of handstand pushups. I still haven't lost my spare tyre since rehab, but my strength is returning. Don't just fall in a heap like I did!

Be patient, and don't let the fact that you are lifting 3lb wights at the gym get you down. Do the hard yards, and you will get that stability back. Exhaust all other possibilities before going under the knife. I feel your pain, literally!

Oh yeah, and use the barbell for bent presses when you can. The extra leverage and balance will really help.

Not a comment on his advice vis-a-vis your dislocation, but just as a general piece of advice I’d get a new doctor. The benefits of weight-training have been so well verified by now that anyone who argues against them is, simply put, out of date. No reason to pay for advice that was current back in the 1950s.

I had chronic dislocations of both shoulders man. It’s a real drag and each time they dislocated you’re one step closer to arthritis. I had bankart surgery on one of them, and complete prolotherapy on the other one. The prolo shoulder is much stronger now, even though neither of them have dislocated since the said treatments. Exercises never quite worked for me man, this is a serious injury, I advise looking up “prolotherapy” on the net and finding a reputable doc who can do it for you. You’ll be glad you did.

I really appreciate all the advice.

Yes, Char-dawg, I hear you. Here’s the kicker: this guy’s a “sports doctor.” When I asked him, “What’s a good time to return to deadlifts,” (thinking that they weren’t directly dangerous to the shoulder joint), he replied, “Is there ever a good time to deadlift?” And he’s a freaking SPORTS doctor, for crying out loud!

Littleman11, thanks. I’d never even heard of prolotherapy.

Kahuna, I’m glad you shared how you dislocated again even after surgery. I had been wondering, and I’d assumed it was in a way in which you didn’t see any immediate danger. Did you hit something on the bottom, or was it the impact of the water?

I ask because my injury was non-contact and it took me completely by surprise. It happened six days into a bulking cycle. I’d been holding at a lean/small look for months and was just aching to train heavy and eat, eat, eat. I even joined a new gym for added incentive. And there I was six days later, in the ER, my training plans dissolved. [Okay, reality check. How small is this problem compared to the things others must face? I know.]

Just contact with the water. It was about a 10 m pier which we used to jump from when we were young. There I was with two mates 24, showng the teenagers how to do it! Don’t put it in situations where it is endangered. It’s not worth it. And listen to the other guys too. It is over ten years ago since my op, so I’m sure there are new techniques etc. I’ve also never heard of “prolotherapy”.