Once the ligaments around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly.

INJURY
Chronic Shoulder Instability

ALSO KNOWN AS
Out-of-socket shoulder or dislocated shoulder

ABOUT
When the shoulder is forced out-of-socket, shoulder instability occurs. This can be caused by injury or longtime overuse. This can be partial – subluxation or complete dislocation.

COMMON INJURY
Once the ligaments around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly. The initial dislocation is most often due to trauma; however continue strain or repeat use of the shoulder through activities such as swimming, tennis and volleyball can also cause chronic shoulder instability.

DIAGNOSIS
Your SMGOA physician will examine your shoulder asking you to complete a variety of movement exercises. You will discuss your regular activity, activity at the time of the injury and other arm/shoulder injuries. Upon completion of the physical exam, x-rays or MRI may be considered.

NON SURGICAL TREATMENT
Non surgical options are always a first choice for shoulder instability. Activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and physical therapy are always a first route for patients of chronic shoulder instability.

SURGICAL TREATMENT
Most often completed through arthroscopy, the torn or stretched ligaments are repaired to between stabilize the shoulder joint.

Chronic Shoulder Instability
Left: Normal shoulder stability. Right: Head of the humerus dislocated to the front of the shoulder.
Image courtesy of AAOS