Shoulder instability is a condition that occurs when the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) is forced out of the shoulder socket. This condition can happen due to overuse of the shoulder, or because of a sudden, powerful injury. After a shoulder has been dislocated, it is usually susceptible to dislocating again in the future. When a shoulder slips out of place on a consistent basis, the condition is referred to as chronic shoulder instability.
Common symptoms of shoulder instability include:
The doctors at Austin Sports Medicine may determine a patient has shoulder instability during an interview and physical exam. Sometimes, imaging tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and identify any other problems that may exist.
Shoulder instability is often initially treated through non-surgical methods including, anti-inflammatory medications, activity modification, and physical therapy. It often takes several months of non-surgical care to treat shoulder instability. When non-surgical treatment is not successful in relieving instability and pain, surgery is often necessary to repair torn or stretched ligaments so that they are better able to hold the shoulder joint in place.