Who to see if you suffer from a dislocated shoulder?

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When a severe injury such as a dislocated shoulder occurs, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which type of doctor is best equipped to provide proper treatment. The last thing you want is to waste time on deciding where to go. In the following video, Dr. Tehrany breaks down some of your options for appropriate orthopedic treatment and care, should you find yourself in this situation.

What are your options for Dislocated Shoulder?

Primary Care doctor who does Sports Medicine

This doctor has trained in Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, or even Neurology and done an extra year of non-operative Sports Medicine. He will be able to recommend a conservative treatment and refer you based on his conclusion. If the doctor determines that shoulder surgery may be the solution, he will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. Consider this option as a starting point if your shoulder dislocation is recurring and has been due to a sports-related injury.

Rehabilitation Physiatrist

This specialist can help rehabilitate the patient and diagnose the patient but is not able to perform surgery.  Rehabilitation, which consists of exercises to help restore range of motion and prevent future injuries, offers an alternative for less severe orthopedic conditions.  A rehabilitation physiatrist would be of use in a situation when your shoulder can be manually placed without surgery, and you need exercises to rebuild strength.

Orthopedic Surgeon

The orthopedic surgeon is a specialist that has the expertise to form the proper diagnosis, read the MRI scan clearly, and make one of the following suggestions:
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections
  • Shoulder surgery
An orthopedic surgeon might be considered the most qualified practitioner to see since this type of doctor can both diagnose conditions and perform shoulder surgery if needed. It is immensely helpful to know the options available to you, and depending on your circumstances, you may feel better suited with one of the aforementioned doctors instead due to familiarity or history.  Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to find the orthopedic care and attention that your dislocated shoulder needs.