Post-operative rehabilitation following traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation: A systematic scoping review

Martha Coyle, Anju Jaggi, Lewis Weatherburn, Helena Daniel, Rachel Chester

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Background: This systematic scoping review aimed to describe the content of post-operative rehabilitation programmes, and outcome measures selection following stabilisation surgery for traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation (TASD).

Methods: An electronic search of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL and AMED was conducted (2000-2021). Any cohort or clinical trial of patients receiving post-operative TASD rehabilitation were included. Study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal were undertaken by two independent reviewers.

Results: Twelve studies including fourteen treatment programmes were eligible. Period of post-operative immobilisation ranged from 1 day to 6 weeks, with exercise introduced between 1 and 7 weeks. Strengthening exercises were introduced between 1 and 12 weeks. Two studies described “accelerated” rehabilitation programmes, differing in immobilisation period and exercise milestones. No increased recurrence was reported in professional footballers. Two studies compared rehabilitation programmes, one not randomised, the other 18 years old. There was variability in selected outcomes measures, with only 4 studies using a common measure.

Discussion: There is minimal evidence to guide post-operative rehabilitation, variability in immobilisation periods and when exercise is introduced. There is no consensus on the definition of accelerated rehabilitation, or outcome measure selection. Clinical consensus of standardised terminology and stages of rehabilitation is required prior to efficacy studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalShoulder & Elbow
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • arthroscopic surgery
  • physical therapy modalities
  • shoulder
  • trauma
  • instability

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