• Alyson Vasconcellos - PT, DPT, CSCS

SHOULDER INSTABILITY - WHAT IS IT, HOW DOES IT HAPPEN AND WHAT CAN I DO?


The shoulder is a ball and socket joint surrounded by a layer of tissue termed the capsule, as well as several tendons and ligaments. Shoulder instability is a common ailment of overhead athletes often resulting in subluxations or dislocations where the head of the humerus dislodges from the glenohumeral capsule either partially (subluxation) or completely (dislocation). Due to the extreme ranges of motion of the shoulder and the shallow glenoid socket, the shoulder can dislocate in multiple positions, but anterior & posterior dislocations are most prevalent. While sometimes the joint spontaneously reduces back into the original joint position, others require assisted relocation. Once a subluxation or dislocation occurs, the joint becomes more vulnerable to recurrence with increasing risk of tissue damage. This injury can occur from forceful movement (traumatic) as well as from general tissue laxity or overuse (atraumatic). Regardless of the cause, it is important to be evaluated by a physician and attend physical therapy to improve stabilization of the joint.

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