What Techniques Do Physiotherapists Use to Rehab Shoulder Dislocations in Athletes?

A Physiotherapist Doing Physiotherapy

Shoulder dislocation physiotherapy is basically a set of exercises and treatments to help you recover after your shoulder pops out of its socket. Shoulder dislocation physiotherapy in Edmonton focuses on reducing pain, improving movement, and strengthening the muscles around your shoulder to prevent it from happening again. Our registered physiotherapists guide you through exercises, stretches, and techniques to get your shoulder back to its full strength and mobility.

How Physiotherapists Get Athletes Back in the Game After a Shoulder Dislocation:

A dislocated joint in the shoulder can be particularly challenging for athletes, who require a high level of function and stability in their shoulders to perform at their best. Shoulder dislocation physiotherapy in Edmonton focuses not just on recovery but also on optimal performance and minimizing the risk of re-injury. Here are some specialized techniques physiotherapists use to rehabilitate shoulder dislocations in athletes:

Sports-Specific Functional Training:

When it comes to getting athletes back to their peak performance after a shoulder dislocation, sports-specific functional training is key. This type of training is all about customizing exercises that not only care for dislocated shoulders but also ensure that the athlete can return to their sport as safely and effectively as possible. Here’s how dislocated shoulder therapies tailor sports-specific functional training for athletes recovering from shoulder dislocations:

Throwing Mechanics Drills: 

These exercises focus on the precise mechanics of throwing, ensuring the athlete’s technique is spot on and reducing stress on the shoulder. Techniques might include towel drills (where the athlete snaps a towel like a whip to mimic the throwing motion without the load of a ball) or graduated throwing programs that slowly increase in intensity and distance.

Dynamic Stabilization Exercises:

These exercises are focused on building strength in the rotator cuff muscles and enhancing the stability of the shoulder joint during dynamic movements. Exercises might include activities like plyometric throws or resistance band movements that mimic the action of throwing or striking. Common dynamic stabilization exercises used are:

Resistance Band Exercises:

External/Internal Rotations: 

Attach a resistance band to a door or a sturdy object at elbow height. Hold the free end of the band with the arm farthest from the door and rotate the arm outward (external) and inward (internal) against the resistance. This exercise targets the key stabilizers of the shoulder.

Diagonal Pulls: 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a resistance band with one hand, and stretch it diagonally across the body to the opposite hip, then slowly return to the starting position. This mimics the action of swinging a bat or racquet and strengthens the dynamic movement patterns.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF):

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) sounds super technical, but it’s basically about improving the way muscles respond through specific movements. This could involve twisting or turning exercises that prepare the shoulder for those quick, unexpected plays. Some PNF exercises commonly used to help get shoulders back in shape after a dislocation:


This technique involves holding your arm in a stretched position with a little help from our therapist. You’ll then push against the therapist’s resistance without actually moving your arm (isometric contraction), hold it for a few seconds, and then relax. This allows you to stretch further and is particularly good for improving flexibility and decreasing muscle tightness.


Similar to the hold-relax, but this time, you’ll perform an isotonic contraction, where you actually move your arm against our therapist’s resistance. After the contraction, you relax, and our therapist helps you stretch the muscle even further. This technique helps maximize the range of motion and muscle strength.

Manual Therapy:

Sometimes, a little hands-on approach goes a long way. Manual therapy includes techniques where our therapist manually moves and manipulates the shoulder to help improve movement and decrease pain. It’s about keeping those joints moving smoothly. Common manual therapy techniques used are:


Manual stretching is used to improve the flexibility of the shoulder muscles and connective tissues. Our registered physiotherapist will carefully stretch your shoulder, aiding to improve the range of motion and alleviate tightness. This is crucial in restoring function and preventing the joint from becoming stiff or frozen.

Muscle Energy Techniques (MET):

In MET, the patient actively uses their muscles on request in specific directions against a distinctly controlled counterforce applied by our therapist. This method is often used to strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight muscles and fascia, mobilize restricted joints, and improve local circulation.

Eccentric Strengthening:

Focusing on eccentric exercises helps to increase the strength and endurance of the shoulder muscles, particularly the rotator cuff. These exercises involve lengthening the muscle under tension, such as slowly lowering weights during a shoulder press. Eccentric training is effective in reinforcing the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint against the high loads experienced during athletic activities. Effective eccentric exercise used in physio for dislocated shoulder:

Eccentric Shoulder Press

Use a light dumbbell or a resistance machine for this exercise:

Start with the weight overhead (the top position of a shoulder press). Gradually lower the weight in a controlled manner until you reach the bottom of the press. The focus should be on slowing down the downward movement rather than pushing up.

Empowering Recovery:

Momentum Physiotherapy in Edmonton plays a vital role in the comprehensive management of shoulder dislocations. We not only facilitate the healing process but also reduce the risk of future dislocations and boost overall function and quality of life for patients. By equipping individuals with the information and resources to effectively manage their condition, shoulder dislocation physiotherapy in Edmonton fosters long-term recovery and enables patients to return to their daily tasks with confidence and comfort.


Ready to take control of your shoulder health and reclaim your mobility? Schedule an appointment with our registered physiotherapist today to start your personalized journey toward recovery and long-term shoulder stability.


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Terwillegar – Edmonton

5108 Mullen Road NW
Edmonton, AB
Call: (587) 409-4495
E-mail: info@mssphysio.com

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1301 Windermere Way SW
Edmonton AB
T6W 2P3
Call: (587) 400-1113
E-mail: windermere@mssphysio.com

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