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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the best method of treatment to get me back to playing rugby following two dislocated shoulders?

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  • 1


    Colin Phillips


    Owner of Penshurst Physiotherapy Centre, Sydney, NSW. I have experience in public, private and voluntary physiotherapy settings. My main area of expertise and experience is … View Profile

    It depends on if you have dislocated both shoulders or if you have just dislocated the same shoulder twice. Generally after one dislocation, you have a high incident of re-dislocating the shoulder unless you do some strength and conditioning exercises. You may have the option to go for surgery, depending on how frequently your shoulder is dislocating. If you do have surgery, then you need to go through some strength and conditioning exercises again to build up the support around the rotator cuff area of the shoulder.
    If you want to go back to playing rugby you need to be very sport-specific towards the strength and conditioning training that you are doing. It may be an idea to start off with some light contact in training, possibly wearing a brace in training, and then reducing to strapping for a game. Once you feel comfortable in contact in a game situation then you should no longer need the strapping.

  • Jemima Bazzi

    Exercise Physiologist

    Jemima began work as an Exercise Physiologist in 2011. Since then she has gained clinical experience working with patients with multiple co-morbidities and concerns. She … View Profile

    I agree with Colin. 
    I would also like to stress the importance of adequate rest. Ensure you steadily progress towards your rehabilitation goals to avoid reinjury. Rehabiliation can be detrimental if rest and sense are neglected in an attempt to hasten recovery rate. 
    Best of luck

  • Ben Strachan


    Ben Strachan graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Charles Sturt University. He has over 15,000 hours experience working as a physiotherapist. During … View Profile

    I would like to highlight the sports specific training mentioned by Colin. You will need an exercise program that gradually increases guided by pain, swelling, and movement control. Too many patients focus on strength and forget technique. You might be motivated by Gary Ablett Jnr's successful return to the AFL this weekend after a shoulder stabilization in August 2014. 

  • 2


    Dr Kalman Piper

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dr Piper is an Australian trained orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in advanced shoulder arthroscopic and open surgery and trauma surgery. He has completed … View Profile

    If your shoulder has dislocated twice, and you would like to continue playing Rugby, then I would recommend a review by an orthopaedic surgeon. A CT scan and an MRI scan would help determine the damage to the shoulder, and estimate your risk of further dislocations. Surgery may be necessary to stabilise the joint to prevent further dislocations.

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