What Is Chronic Shoulder Instability?
Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is partially or completely forced out of the shoulder socket. A shoulder dislocation can occur suddenly through direct trauma or gradually through repetitive strain. Because the shoulder joint is highly mobile and has a wide range of motion, it is susceptible to instability and other injuries.
If the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly. Chronic shoulder instability is a persistent inability of these supportive tissues to keep the upper arm bone properly positioned in the shoulder socket.
What does shoulder instability feel like?
Chronic shoulder instability can cause several symptoms. For instance:
- A partial shoulder dislocation (subluxation) can cause sudden pain, a feeling that the shoulder joint is “loose” and a slipping or pinching sensation when the corresponding arm is raised overhead.
- A complete shoulder dislocation can cause sudden, severe pain that intensifies with movement. Bruising, swelling and visible deformity may occur as well.
- In either case, if a nearby nerve is stretched, numbness may develop on the outside of the arm, just below the tip of the shoulder. Additionally, the shoulder muscles may temporarily weaken until the damage heals.
After a shoulder dislocation is confirmed with an X-ray, a reduction procedure may be necessary to restore the joint to its proper alignment. Oftentimes, a dislocated shoulder can be reduced without surgery (a closed reduction).
How is chronic shoulder instability treated?
Shoulder instability can often be treated with nonsurgical methods such as activity modification, physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair a torn or stretched ligament so that it can better hold the bones in place. At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, our board-certified and double-board-certified surgeons can perform minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopies and other procedures as appropriate to repair damaged shoulder ligaments.
To learn more about shoulder instability symptoms and treatment options, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, today.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Doctor’s Pavilion at North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
I’ve seen Dr. Brooks twice now for both of my shoulders and he has given me injections both times. I’m extremely impressed by his injection skills and I always get relief from them. I highly recommend Dr. Brooks, and his MA is very sweet and caring. They also have X-ray and ultrasound on site, which makes things easier.
We did not have an appointment, but I was concerned my son had broken his hand. I called and was given an appointment within an hour. Dr. Vial was great, the person who did his cast was wonderful, and we were in and out within an hour. Fantastic staff and excellent customer service!
Dr. Fehsenfeld is one of the best. He talks to me on a regular level, & he performed ACL surgery on my oldest son. My boy recovered back to 100% within no time. I went to see about my shoulder, & I was in/out within an hour. That includes X-ray, diagnosis, talking, and the remedy. Dr. Drew is the most…
Dr. Brooks is an amazing doctor who shows genuine concern for the welfare of his patients. He is professional, courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable. He is responsive to patients who are in need of help when they request an office visit. I would highly recommend him to my family and friends.
Dr. Mills is the best doctors I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I had an accident where I sliced open my hand cutting tendons, nerves and who knows what else. I was convinced that I was losing the use of 2 of my fingers. Dr. Mills took my case and had a good conversation with my wife and I addressing…
Dr. Mohr saved my life. I was told I would never walk again and he took my case. He is the best surgeon in the world. Visits are great, he explains everything to where I understand everything. He’s the best.
Dr. Mills was very pleasant, he spoke plainly to me, let me know my treatment options and what he recommended for me but he ultimately left the choice up to me without pushing any of them onto me, nor did he rush my decision. I am very impressed with the response time of everyone who helped me during my visit,…
I can’t express my gratitude enough for the straight talk and guidance that Dr. Tessier has provided. He has been outstanding taking calls after hours and provided that next level of service that I didn’t think existed anymore. My knee surgery and recovery has been nothing but exceptional, and at all stages, Dr. Tessier has proved excellent communication and advice….
I have been going to Dr. Fehsenfeld for almost 10 years now and he has been nothing but amazing. He always gives his patients the time they need and sits down and talks with them about their injury and different recovery options. He has done both of my knee surgeries and I have had no issues with them and quick…
Dr. Patel is the most fantastic doctor my mother has seen in years. She has helped us in ways that we never expected. You have no idea what it is like to have your 87-year-old mother go from lots of pain to very little. I don’t know what we would’ve done without her.