Approximately 84% of all stroke patients with hemiplegia will experience shoulder injury and pain. Therefore, maintaining a proper posture for positioning and transferring is very important to prevent further shoulder complications.

The most common complication is shoulder subluxation affecting up to 80% of stroke survivors.

What should you do if you notice you or your loved ones experiencing shoulder subluxation?

What is Shoulder Subluxation?

  • Just after the stroke, a weak or paralyzed arm often hangs down at the side of the body, which results the arm being pulled by gravity and stretching tissues to the point of dislocation.
  • The shoulder joint relies on muscle integrity and capsule-ligamentous structures.
  • Without the support of the shoulder muscles, the joint capsule stretches causing shoulder subluxation.

Here are some Take Home Messages:

1. Positioning (lying)

  • Place a pillow under the subluxed shoulder and arm to support the shoulder.

2. Positioning (sitting)

  • Lap trays, pillow or foam support can be used. Place the subluxed shoulder on the support approximately 80° – 90°.

3. Slings or shoulder support

  • As a support for the shoulder to prevent the weak arm hanging and pulled by gravity

4. Do not pull your arm forward or downward with the other arm to prevent further dislocation



Be patient, it takes time to regain what you’ve lost. The golden period for stroke rehabilitation is 3-6months.

Take the first step, we are here to help! Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.



Prepraed by

Ng Yan Shuang


Your Physio Penang

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