The symptoms of shoulder instability are varied and make it difficult to diagnose accurately. There does not have to be pain present with the diagnosis of shoulder instability. Sometimes, just a general feeling of “looseness” within the shoulder joint is the chief complaint. In the case that instability is the result of a traumatic event, however, there is no question that pain will be present. Symptoms related to shoulder instability are:
● Pain if an acute injury to the shoulder has occurred
● Repeated previous subluxations or dislocations of the shoulder joint
● Repeated instance and a frequent feeling of the shoulder joint ‘giving way” or “going in and out”
● Knowing exactly what position the shoulder must be in for it to come of the socket, known as the “provocative position”
● A feeling of tingling, or pins and needles felt throughout the arm and hand if blood vessels and nerves have been damaged as a result of chronic instability
● Discoloration may also be present as a result of compromised blood supply
● Possible visible deformity of shoulder joint, losing its smooth, round curve
● Swelling of the shoulder jointIf You Are Experiencing Symptoms, Schedule an Appointment Dr. Burke Orthopedics Immediately.
Treatment for this diagnosis will most always begin with conservative measures. This will include a course of physical therapy in order to maximally strengthen the surrounding musculature of the shoulder, with focus on the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers. Physical therapy is the most important treatment to treat and prevent shoulder instabilities. Cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and placing the arm in a sling or brace for a time may be other conservative measures attempted that may help with pain and inflammation.
If all of the above are attempted and fail to reduce pain and/or feelings of instability, surgery may be recommended in order to tighten or repair the affected ligaments and other structures.