The Use of a Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthosis to Manage Painful Shoulder Subluxation: A Case Study

Martin J. Matthews, MPhil, Carol Payne, Martin Watson, PhD,



Across a variety of patient groups, the painful subluxed shoulder is a notoriously difficult clinical problem to manage. A number of treatment strategies have been proposed, which generally have mixed success. Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthoses (DEFOs) represent an emerging treatment strategy for movement and postural control problems. Their use in the management of the painful subluxed shoulder has not, however, been previously documented. The case report provides a brief account of a young man with a painful subluxed shoulder as a result of a manual handling injury. At the end of an initial period of conservative management, the clinical problem had worsened, hindering the prospects for further active rehabilitation. A DEFO was prescribed for this client to provide physical support and facilitate physical activity. Full recovery (as judged by radiographic evidence) was achieved within a relatively short period of time after orthotic prescription. It is proposed that this intervention may be a useful adjunct to the management of this recurring clinical problem and that it warrants further investigation.

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