• The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. This greater range of motion, however, can allow for instability. Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can happen as a result of a sudden injury or from overuse.

    • Shoulder dislocations can be partial, with the ball of the upper arm coming just partially out of the socket. This is called a subluxation. A complete dislocation means the ball comes all the way out of the socket.

  • Once a shoulder has dislocated, it is vulnerable to repeat episodes. When the shoulder is loose and slips out of place repeatedly, it is called chronic shoulder instability.

  • Pathology

    • Severe injury, or trauma, is often the cause of an initial shoulder dislocation. When the head of the humerus dislocates, the socket bone (glenoid) and the ligaments in the front of the shoulder are often injured. The labrum — the cartilage rim around the edge of the glenoid — may also tear. This is commonly called a Bankart lesion. A severe first dislocation can lead to continued dislocations, giving out, or a feeling of instability.

    • Looser ligaments can make it hard to maintain shoulder stability. Repetitive or stressful activities can challenge a weakened shoulder. This can result in a painful, unstable shoulder. The shoulder may feel loose or dislocate in multiple directions, meaning the ball may dislocate out the front, out the back, or out the bottom of the shoulder. This is called multidirectional instability.

  • Conservative Treatment

    • Physical therapy. Strengthening shoulder muscles and working on shoulder control can increase stability. Your therapist will design a home exercise program for your shoulder.

  • Surgical Treatment

    • Surgery is often necessary to repair torn or stretched ligaments so that they are better able to hold the shoulder joint in place.

    • Arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery. Your surgeon will look inside the shoulder with a tiny camera and perform the surgery with special pencil-thin instruments.  Bankart lesions can be surgically repaired. Sutures and anchors are used to reattach the ligament to the bone. Soft tissues in the shoulder can be repaired using tiny instruments and small incisions. This is a same-day or outpatient procedure.

    • Open Surgery. Some patients may need an open surgical procedure. This involves making a larger incision over the shoulder and performing the repair under direct visualization.

Instability

© 2017 by Brandon Horn

Witham Orthopaedic at Anson

6085 Heartland Drive, Suite 204

Zionsville, IN 46077

Office: (317)768-2240

Fax: (765) 485-8795

Witham Orthopaedic Associates

2705 N. Lebanon Street, #210

Lebanon, IN 46052

Office: (765) 485-8890

Fax: (765) 485-8795