A shoulder dislocation is a common injury in teenagers and young adults. It’s much less common in patients in their thirties, forties and fifties. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss the challenges for an older adult who suffers a shoulder dislocation and when you could actually need surgery.

Vincent asks:
I’m 53. I dislocated my shoulder. It has been 2 weeks. I made a strange movement, and it slightly popped out, but I have no pain. Will I need surgery, or will it just take time?

When a young athlete suffers a dislocated shoulder, he or she often tears the labrum (cartilage bumper, so to speak) off the glenoid (or socket). That younger patient often needs surgery to repair the labrum and tighten the capsule to restore stability to the shoulder.

If you are older and suffer a shoulder dislocation, it is common to tear your rotator cuff instead. The rotator cuff tear in this scenario occasionally involves more than one tendon. The tear can retract several centimeters off the bone. Orthopedic surgeons often perform surgery to repair this rotator cuff tear in the days and weeks after the injury.

The surgeon grabs the torn rotator cuff tendon from a shoulder dislocation.

In this video, I explain when an older patient should see a doctor for a shoulder dislocation, what tests can reveal the extent of injury and when you might need surgery.

Also read:
When should you get an MRI for a shoulder dislocation?
Rotator cuff tear: Signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this shoulder injury

Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.