Chronic Shoulder Instability
posted by Michael Carlson, MD | March 9, 2017
Some of the most versatile parts of the body are also some of the most susceptible to injuries, and the shoulder joint is a great example. You may not know this, but the shoulder is the most moveable joint in the entire human body—it has an even greater range of motion than the hips, neck or other flexible areas.
Unfortunately, this remarkable flexibility and range of motion can result in shoulder instability, or chronic shoulder instability.
Within the shoulder, your upper arm bone connects to your torso by the shoulder socket, called the glenoid. Shoulder instability refers to any time the upper arm bone is forced out of the glenoid, usually by a trauma or long term wear and tear.
A single instance of shoulder instability makes you more likely to have repeated instances in the future, and when this happens frequently, it is known as chronic shoulder instability. These dislocations of the shoulder can be partial (called a subluxation) or complete.
Shoulder instability is generally caused by one of three different underlying issues:
There are a few common symptoms of chronic shoulder instability:
To diagnose chronic shoulder instability, your doctor will perform a few specific examinations:
When it’s possible, shoulder instability will be treated without invasive surgery. Some of the non-surgical options that you might be introduced to include:
In some cases, though, surgery is necessary to correct long term chronic shoulder instability. There are two primary types of surgery performed for shoulder instability:
If you’re concerned you might have the symptoms of chronic shoulder instability, speak to your doctor about the most minimally invasive ways to get treated and eliminate symptoms.
Orthopedics is rewarding for me because it allows me to help patients with injuries and get them back into action quickly. I love meeting people of all ages in my practice—I see kids, athletes, adults and retirees. I enjoy being able to understand people’s unique situations and trying to help them recover. I tend to be conservative with my surgical treatment, and much of my training is in minimally-invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy.
“Chronic Shoulder Instability.” American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00529
“Shoulder Instability.” SportsMD. http://www.sportsmd.com/shoulder-injuries/shoulder-instability/
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.