Athletes and active people want to return to play sports or exercise after recovering from major surgery. What does the process for returning to play sports entail, and how can you know if you’re ready? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss the return to play after shoulder dislocation surgery, or arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum and stabilize a dislocated shoulder.

Lee in Dublin, Ireland asks:
On the 17th of November, I had an operation to repair my shoulder. Initially I injured it in September with a subluxation. I was playing rugby full time so I tried to rehab it, but it got quite weak. Sometimes it was popping out while I slept. It probably slipped out of joint 10 times overall.

I had keyhole surgery to repair the labrum and improve the stability of the shoulder. I have taken time away from full-time rugby to travel. Now I find myself in America where a good opportunity has presented itself for me to play. What tests in general would you give a player before they return to play? I did 4 months of good rehab while in Ireland, but since I’ve begun traveling, I’ve been less committed to rehab.

If a patient has an unstable shoulder, where the shoulder dislocates or subluxes (partially dislocates) over and over, an orthopedic surgeon can treat it. The surgeon can repair the labrum and tighten the capsule, usually arthroscopically. Then the patient undergoes a long rehab process with a physical therapist.

In this video, I discuss the rehab process after this type of shoulder dislocation surgery. I also comment on the process of preparing the patient to return to sports and how the surgeon and physical therapist can determine when the patient could be ready to play.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Should you try surgery or rehab for a SLAP tear?
Shoulder surgery: Tips for the day of and the day after surgery

Pain after shoulder dislocation

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