What Does Shoulder Instability Mean?

The places in your body where your bones meet are called joints. You have many joints in your body, such as your wrists, knees, hips, and shoulders. Your shoulder joint is a ball and socket type of joint that allows for a vast range of motion, but it can also develop instability due to injury or overuse.

At Crescent City Orthopedics in Metairie, Louisiana, we are your shoulder pain specialists. Our highly skilled team of Orthopedic Surgeons and Sports Medicine Specialists have the experience and knowledge to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for your shoulder pain. They have special expertise in addressing shoulder instability issues.

What is shoulder instability?

Your shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in your body and is the most flexible. This allows you to move your arm in almost any direction. The joint is primarily made up of your upper arm bone, or humerus, which has an end shaped like a ball that fits into a cup-like socket in your shoulder blade. 

Your shoulder muscles, ligaments, and tendons help keep your humerus in its socket and allow your shoulder joint to function correctly. In shoulder instability, the end of the humerus bone comes out of the shoulder socket repeatedly. 

Shoulder instability typically feels like the shoulder is “giving way” as it pops out of the joint. This can cause pain, difficulty moving your arm, and damage to the soft tissues surrounding the joint. 

What causes shoulder instability?

Shoulder instability can be caused by:

Whatever the cause of shoulder instability, it’s vital to see a specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. If your shoulder doesn’t receive the proper treatment, repeated issues can lead to the joint’s chronic instability.

Treatment options

At your first appointment, your doctor takes down your medical history, completes a physical exam, asks you about your symptoms, and may order diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to locate your injury. 

Once your doctor finds the exact causes of your shoulder instability, he can develop a treatment plan that allows you to heal from your injury and regain your joint strength and stability.

The treatment options can include

Your doctor typically recommends trying less invasive treatment options before considering a more complicated treatment option, such as surgery. However, should you need it, our doctors can perform many shoulder surgeries using the latest minimally-invasive techniques, resulting in fewer risks, smaller scars, and a reduced healing time for you. 

Shoulder instability can cause significant pain and a decreased range of motion in the shoulder joint. If you’re having trouble with your shoulder or other joint pain types, call our office to make an appointment.

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