Treatments for Dislocated Shoulder in Children

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Contact the Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program

  • 1-617-355-6021
  • International: +01-617-355-5209
  • Visit our Locations

Boston Children's Hospital's skilled specialists in our Orthopedic Hand and Upper Extremity Program will provide:

   •   consultation 
   •   comprehensive evaluation 
   •   casting 
   •   orthotic management  
   •   occupational therapy  
   •   physical therapy 
   •   prosthetic treatment 
   •   surgical care, both invasive and minimally invasive  
   •   ongoing management

When is surgery necessary?

The need for surgery depends on the functional demands of your child and the degree of instability in the shoulder. Surgery may be required if:

   •   the shoulder instability becomes a disability for your child 
   •   a conservative program of exercise has failed 
   •   your child has repeated shoulder dislocations

What does the surgery involve?

Surgery attempts to restore stability to the joint and address the problems that are causing the instability while maintaining mobility of the shoulder and providing pain-free range of motion.

   •   Repairs typically focus on repairing or tightening the stretched or torn ligaments.
   •   Typical success rates for open surgery for shoulder instability vary from 90 to 95%.

How can my child avoid reinjuring a dislocated shoulder?

Typical rehabilitation programs start with a short period of immobilization with a sling and then progress to exercises like closed grip pull-downs, rowing on a machine and "shrugs" for shoulder blade strength.

Strengthening programs for the rotator cuff include rotation exercises with the arm down at the side.

   •   Resistant rubber tubing or cables may be used
   •   Exercises that increase coordination of the shoulder are important 
   •   Exercises with a medicine ball 
   •   Bouncing balls against the wall and the floor

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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