Approximately 20% of all shoulder dislocations occur in patients aged >60 years. Older patients who sustain a primary shoulder dislocation are much less likely than younger patients to suffer from recurrence. However, older patients are more likely than younger patients to sustain injuries to the rotator cuff, axillary nerve, or brachial plexus. Rotator cuff tears are significantly more common than nerve palsies, and rotator cuff tears can be mistaken for nerve palsies. Older patients with persistent shoulder pain and dysfunction after dislocation should be carefully evaluated for rotator cuff pathology. Although dislocation is a common injury in the older population, these concomitant injuries—especially of the rotator cuff—are often missed.
From the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Murthi or an immediate family member serves as a paid consultant to or is an employee of Zimmer, Ascension, and Arthrex. Neither Dr. Ramirez nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.