History of closed reduction techniques and initial management for shoulder dislocations: From classical antiquity to modern times

Sanne H. van Spanning, Lukas P. E. Verweij, Emma E. Z. Verweij, Michel P. J. van den Bekerom, Matthijs P. Somford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


This review gives a summary of the records of shoulder dislocation management throughout history until the point that anaesthetics were introduced and modern medicine improved dislocation management exponentially. A dislocation is a mechanical injury that has been managed in different ways throughout history. The shoulder reduction methods described in Hippocrates Corpus have been described and adjusted throughout history by later physicians. For example, in ancient Greek, Hippocrates considered the ambe, a device used to reduce the shoulder, to be the most powerful tool. However, Cooper, a physician in the 19th century, considered it to be the last resort due to substantial damage to the ribs and discomfort of the patient. This review demonstrates that there were many physicians that contributed to shoulder dislocation management. These physicians paved the way for modern shoulder dislocation treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalShoulder and elbow
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Hippocrates
  • Shoulder instability
  • dislocations
  • history
  • reduction

Cite this