Shoulder Instability

  • Subluxation (partial dislocation)
  • Dislocation

Shoulder instability may be present with an obvious tramatic event or develop insidiously. Young patients with shoulder instability may present with activity related pain, weakness, or numbness in the affected upper extremity. Symptoms may radiate from the shoulder into the hand. Depending on the shoulder instability direction, patients may demonstrate apprehension with placement of their arm in the overhead position. Some patients may demonstrate generalized ligament laxity as evidenced by generalized joint increased range of motion. Acute shoulder dislocation may relocate spontaneously or require joint relocation in the emergency room. Acute shoulder dislocation in older patients often is occompanied with rotator cuff tearing. Patients with shoulder subluxation or who present with initial dislocation are treated with physical therapy. Persistent subluxation or recurrent dislocation may require arthroscopic surgery.