How to reduce your own shoulder with the Davos technique

Siamak Moayedi, MD
19th Nov 2020

When to use the Davos technique 

The Davos technique is perfect if you’re hiking in the woods, fall on an outstretched arm, and dislocate your shoulder. Your friend hiking with you has no medical training, but you can reduce your own shoulder with their help. Remember, the sooner you reduce a joint the easier it will go in!

When to use the Davos technique: Woman slipping on banana with outstretched arm beside alarmed woman. Cartoon.

Figure 1. The Davos technique is best used when you need to reduce your own dislocated shoulder without the assistance of trained medical professionals.  

 

How to reduce your own shoulder with the Davos technique

  1. Get some string, such as the laces from your hiking boots. 
  2. Have your friend tie your wrists together and sit on the ground. Hook your tied arms around the knee on the same side as the shoulder dislocation.
  3. Have your friend stand on your feet to provide some counterweight. Relax, tilt your neck backward, and lean back!

How to reduce your shoulder with the Davos technique: Multi-component image of person with tied wrists hooked around knee while leaning back and relaxing. Cartoon.

Figure 2. How to reduce your shoulder with the Davos technique. 1) Get some string, such as a shoelace. 2) Tie your wrists together and hook your tied wrists around the knee on the same side as the shoulder dislocation. 3) Have your friend stand on your feet to provide counterweight. Relax, tilt your neck backward, and lean back until shoulder is reduced. 

You might be tempted to lock your fingers instead of tying your wrists. However, this would create extra muscle tension and reduce your chances of success. 

So there you have the basics of the Davos technique. Well done! 

 

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That’s it for now. If you want to improve your understanding of key concepts in medicine, and improve your clinical skills, make sure to register for a free trial account, which will give you access to free videos and downloads. We’ll help you make the right decisions for yourself and your patients.

Recommended reading

  • Alkaduhimi, H, van der Linde, JA, Willigenburg, NW, et al. 2017. A systematic comparison of the closed shoulder reduction techniques. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg137: 589–599. PMID: 28251280
  • Cunningham, N. 2003. A new drug free technique for reducing anterior shoulder dislocations. Emerg Med (Fremantle)15: 521–524. PMID: 144992071
  • Marinelli, M and de Palma, L. 2009. The external rotation method for reduction of acute anterior shoulder dislocations. J Orthop Traumatol10: 17–20. PMID: 19384630
  • Sayegh, FE, Kenanidis, EI, Papavasiliou KA, et al. 2009. Reduction of acute anterior dislocations: a prospective randomized study comparing a new technique with the Hippocratic and Kocher methods. J Bone Joint Surg Am91: 2775–2782. PMID: 19952238
  • Stafylakis, D, Abrassart, S, and Hoffmeyer, P. 2016. Reducing a shoulder dislocation without sweating. The Davos technique and its results. Evaluation of a nontraumatic, safe, and simple technique for reducing anterior shoulder dislocations. J Emerg Med50: 656–659. PMID: 26899512