Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability refers to a condition in which the upper arm bone (humerus) is not held securely in the shoulder blade (scapula) socket (glenoid). This can lead to pain and/or dislocation of the shoulder joint. Causes of shoulder instability can include injury, overuse, or a congenital condition. Treatment options may include physical therapy, bracing, and/or surgery.

Symptoms of shoulder instability can include:

      • Pain or discomfort in the shoulder, especially with certain movements
      • A feeling of the shoulder “giving way” or “popping out”
      • Weakness in the arm or shoulder
      • Limited range of motion in the shoulder
      • Swelling or bruising around the shoulder
      • A sensation of the shoulder being “loose” or “unstable”
      • A popping or clicking sound coming from the shoulder

It’s important to note that some individuals may have shoulder instability without any noticeable symptoms.

There are several potential causes of shoulder instability, including:

      • Trauma or injury: A sudden, forceful impact or fall can cause the shoulder to dislocate or become unstable.

      • Overuse: Repetitive motions, such as throwing a ball or lifting weights, can cause the ligaments and tendons in the shoulder to stretch or tear over time, leading to instability.

      • Congenital conditions: Some people are born with a shallow shoulder blade socket, which can make the joint more susceptible to instability.

      • Neurological conditions: Certain neurological conditions such as cerebrovascular accident or stroke can cause weakness in the muscles that support the shoulder, leading to instability.

      • Dislocation history: A history of dislocations in the shoulder can make it more likely for instability to occur in the future.

It’s important to note that multiple factors may contribute to shoulder instability in an individual. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can be developed after a proper evaluation by a medical professional.

The treatment for shoulder instability depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and the individual’s overall health and lifestyle. Some common options include:

      • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion in your shoulder through exercises and stretches.

      • Bracing: Wearing a brace can help keep the shoulder in a stable position and protect it from further injury.

      • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation.

      • Injections: A corticosteroid injection can help reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder.

      • Surgery: In cases where non-surgical treatment options are not effective, surgery may be recommended to repair or tighten the ligaments or tendons in the shoulder and/or to reshape the shoulder blade socket.

It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. In some cases, a multidisciplinary approach may be needed, involving physical therapy, orthopedic and/or sports medicine specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions

The foot and ankle in the human body work together to provide balance, stability, movement, and propulsion.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition characterized by compression of the ulnar nerve in an area of the elbow called the cubital tunnel.

The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join together to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow forming the top of the hinge joint. The lower arm or forearm consists of two bones, the radius and the ulna. These bones connect the wrist to the elbow forming the bottom portion of the hinge joint.



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