Shoulder Instability
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Instability of the shoulder is commonly the consequence of a trauma that causes dislocation. As a result, the ligaments that maintain the shoulder in its socket become lax or torn. This allows the shoulder to sublux (slip out of joint) and become a source of shoulder pain.

Frequently shoulder instability or laxity is the result of overhead repetitive motions. These motions stretch out the joint capsule which can lead to recurrent subluxation or dislocation.
Symptoms include:
  • Subluxation which causes shoulder pain and a snapping sound when arm and hand are raised.
  • Dislocation with shoulder pain and distortion of the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder pain with movement and numbness on the outside of the arm.
  • Muscle weakness from nerve damage
Non-surgical treatment
  • Protection from further injury with a brace or sling.
  • Rest, limiting movement of the injury as much as possible.
  • Cold therapy to stimulate blood flow and relieve the shoulder pain associated with inflammation. Cold therapy should be applied several times over the course of the day.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn and Celebrex may be used to decrease shoulder pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting these medications.
  • Rehabilitation to strengthen muscles surrounding the injury.
Surgical treatment
  • The Bankart repair is the most common surgical procedure to stabilize anterior shoulder instability. The damaged ligaments (usually the front ligaments) are stapled or sewn back into place.
  • A capsular shift uses a flap of the joint capsule to stabilize the shoulder.

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Shoulder Instability