Prompt orthopedic referral, at least within 1 to 2 weeks, is warranted. If conservative measures fail, arthroscopy and manipulation of the shoulder under general anesthesia to break up adhesions may be considered by the orthopaedist.

Prevention is the best treatment, and the emergency physician plays a vital role. Prolonged immobilization of the shoulder or upper extremity following injury should be avoided. Prompt referral to the patient's primary care provider or orthopaedist following shoulder injuries is indicated. It allows the patient to begin early progressive motion and physical therapy, where indicated.

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