Recognizing the Signs of Shoulder Instability

As the most flexible joint in your body, your shoulder gives you the ability to lift, reach, and carry things in your daily life. It’s made of three bones that work together in a ball-and-socket joint.

The shoulder joint is held together with tendons and ligaments, but because it has such an extended range of motion, it’s susceptible to dislocation. A shoulder dislocates when the arm bone slips out of the shoulder socket. Common symptoms include pain, restricted mobility, and swelling.

You might suffer a shoulder dislocation as a result of an acute injury, but it could also be a symptom of a chronic condition called shoulder instability. Shoulder instability develops from overuse or injury and often causes repeated dislocations, weakness, and pain.

At Upper Extremity Specialists of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group, our team is highly trained in diagnosing and treating shoulder injuries. If you suspect you could be suffering from shoulder instability, read on to learn how to recognize the signs of this common condition.

Symptoms of shoulder instability

Some people develop shoulder instability after trauma that dislocates their shoulder. Once dislocated, it’s easier to suffer more dislocations in the future. Other people may never experience a dislocation, but they could have loose shoulder ligaments contributing to shoulder instability and pain.

You could have chronic shoulder instability if you experience:

Shoulder instability may make your shoulder feel loose or like it’s just hanging there. You might feel it slipping in and out of the socket or feel weakness when trying to use your arm.

Shoulder instability can cause pain and swelling that affects your range of motion, but it may also contribute to joint deterioration over time. The good news is that orthopedic care can improve joint health and reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

Treatment for shoulder instability

At Upper Extremity Specialists, we offer comprehensive orthopedic evaluations for patients with shoulder pain. Our team will review your medical history, including any history of injury, and discuss your symptoms with you. 

In your evaluation, we may perform a physical exam to check your shoulder’s range of motion and strength. We may also recommend medical imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI to confirm a diagnosis. 

If shoulder instability is diagnosed, our team generally begins by recommending conservative treatments first. We often recommend physical therapy for people with shoulder instability, because targeted, controlled exercises can build strength in tendons and muscles to improve joint stability. Physical therapy for shoulder instability can reduce the chances for dislocations and associated issues.

If you’re still suffering from shoulder instability after trying physical therapy or other conservative methods, we may recommend more advanced treatments. Surgery for shoulder instability can restore the structure and integrity of the damaged ligaments, tendons, and muscles. 

You don’t have to suffer frequent shoulder dislocations and joint weakness. Learn more about the treatments available for shoulder instability and get a personalized plan that’s right for you. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Reasons to Consider Lipogems

Are you struggling to find treatment that works to relieve your musculoskeletal pain? When conservative care isn’t enough, Lipogems® offers relief without surgery. Learn how Lipogems harnesses the power of fat cells to heal injury from within.

When to See a Specialist About Shoulder Pain

Are you living with shoulder pain? Whether it’s the result of an injury or it’s developed over the years, shoulder pain shouldn’t be ignored. Find out when to consider seeing a shoulder pain specialist so you can get the treatment you need.

Signs of a Torn Rotator Cuff

Your rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint. Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are a common type of shoulder injury among people of all ages. Read on to learn the signs of a torn rotator cuff and find out how it can be treated.

Endoscopic cubital tunnel release

Persistent ulnar neuritis, cubital tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow treated by endoscopic cubital tunnel release compared to open techniques may prove favorable in select patients.

5 Benefits of Physical Therapy After Surgery

If you receive orthopedic surgery, chances are good that you’ll have physical therapy during recovery. Physical therapy is important, because it can help you heal faster and reduce your risk for reinjury. Read on to learn more.

What to Expect During Wide-Awake Hand or Wrist Surgery

The thought of surgery can be scary. But if pain and injury is keeping you from using your hands like you once did, it could be the best option for you. Find out why wide-awake hand and wrist surgery is growing in popularity — and how it works.