Can I Do Push Ups After Shoulder Dislocation?

A shoulder dislocation is a painful injury that can result from playing competitive sports, an automobile accident, a fall or a collision. Depending on the degree of your dislocation, there are physical therapy exercises to aid in your recovery. Certain types of pushups are within the scope of rehab as you regain strength in your shoulder.

Rehab exercises can help you regain strength after a shoulder dislocation. (Image: razyph/iStock/Getty Images)

After the Injury

After you dislocate your shoulder, you need to have an orthopedic doctor place it back into its proper position. He can often do this by physically manipulating the shoulder. The injury and the process of relocating the shoulder can be painful and debilitating, after which, you need to rest the injury, ice it, as well as take electrical stimulation and heat therapy. In the first 7 to 10 days, exercise is not indicated.

Phase 1 Exercises

Once you start to recover from the injury and the pain begins to subside, you can start range-of-motion exercises. These include shoulder shrugs, shoulder circles and pendulum movements. You can add forearm strengthening exercises during this phase by squeezing a rubber ball or through isometric contractions. Use elastic resistance like Therabands or tubing to mimic the shoulder movement of pushups by wrapping the resistance device behind your back and pushing forward with your arms. Phase 1 recovery lasts about 7 to 10 days.

Phase 2

Phase 2 exercises can begin as long as you are not feeling any pain during your recovery at this point. These exercises include lifting light free weights and doing pushups. Before doing standard pushups, you should start off by doing wall pushups. This exercise requires that you stand about 18 inches from a wall and put your arms up at shoulder height. Bend your elbows so your chin is about 2 to 3 inches from the wall. Straighten your arms and return to the starting position. Do this 10 times, rest 30 seconds and repeat the set if there is no pain. After several days of doing wall pushups without major discomfort, you can try standard pushup. This phase can last 1 to 4 weeks

Phase 3

In phase 3, you are getting closer to returning to normal function. Strength-building exercises like pushups should continue and you should also lift weights and do chinups. While working with a physical therapist, you can prepare for a return to normal activity. Once your shoulder is at an 80 to 90 percent strength and endurance level, you have made a solid recovery from your shoulder dislocation.

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