3 Common Causes of Chronic Shoulder Instability

A man with a dislocated shoulderDo you have frequent shoulder dislocations? If you also experience pain and a persistent sensation of your shoulder feeling loose, you may need a shoulder arthroscopy to fix your chronic shoulder instability.

Michael J. Carlson, MD cites some ways your most mobile joint may become unstable.

1. Initial dislocation

When a shoulder slips out of place, it becomes vulnerable to repeated dislocations. Usually, the first dislocation results from severe injury or trauma. When the humeral head (top of the arm bone) is forced out of the shoulder socket, the socket bone and the front ligaments may get injured. The cartilage around the socket bone might also tear. After you have had one severe shoulder dislocation, you are likely to have another. The repeated dislocations give a feeling of instability.

2. Repetitive strain

Some patients with shoulder instability have never dislocated their shoulders. Most of them have relatively loose shoulder ligaments. The increased looseness may be due to normal anatomy or repeated overhead movement.

Participating in an overhead sport such as swimming, volleyball, and tennis can stretch out your ligaments. A job that involves repetitive overhead work may also weaken the shoulder muscles and cause the connective tissue to expand.

Looser than usual ligaments can make it difficult to maintain optimal shoulder stability. Repetitive and stressful tasks can challenge a weakened joint, leading to a painful and unstable shoulder.

3. Multidirectional instability

Sometimes, shoulder instability is in the genes. Multidirectional instability may occur in people without a history of shoulder injury or repetitive strain. The shoulder may dislocate in several directions or just feel loose. Typically, patients with this type of instability have naturally loose ligaments and might be “double-jointed.”

The shoulder, the most moveable joint in the body, is incredibly mobile. Unfortunately, the fantastic range of motion makes the shoulder joint inherently unstable and susceptible to slipping out of place. Protect your shoulders as much as you can and seek medical help immediately when you suspect an injury.

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