Shoulder Instability And What To Do About It
instability is a term used to describe a weakness in the structures of the
shoulder that keep the joint stable, often leading to frequent dislocations. As
one of the most flexible joints in the body, the shoulder maintains stability
through a balance of support between the dynamic structures (muscles and
tendons) and static structures (ligaments and joint shape).
instability typically occurs in one of two directions, anterior (forward) or
posterior (backwards), anterior instability or dislocations are far more common
are the symptoms?
The most noticeable symptom of shoulder instability is
dislocation or subluxation of the joint. This is often accompanied by pain,
clicking sensations, a feeling of instability and in some cases, weakness,
tingling, and pins and needles in the arm. Many
patients report a feeling of apprehension or instability, as if ‘something is
not quite right’. Posterior instability can also cause reduced range of
movement and might mimic other common shoulder conditions, which need to be
ruled out first.
How does it happen?
Shoulder instability is also classified as traumatic, occurring
after an injury or atraumatic, where the shoulder is exceptionally flexible and
prone to dislocations from everyday forces. Instability can also occur from
chronic overuse where the shoulder joint is damaged slowly over time.
Traumatic shoulder instability is the most common form. Often
the joint is dislocated by a strong force and damaged, leaving it more unstable
and vulnerable to future dislocations. Rugby and football players are commonly
affected. However, dislocations can occur in the general public from something
as simple as falling onto an outstretched hand.
How can physiotherapy help?
Shoulder instability is a complex condition, and each person
will have a different combination of causes and structural deficiencies.
Physiotherapists are trained to identify issues of coordination, control and strength
that may be contributing to instability and provide an extensive rehabilitation
program. For some patients, surgery is recommended to help restore some static
stability to the joint. However, this is not the best pathway for everyone. If
surgery is indicated, a full rehabilitation program is also recommended for the
Helping patients to understand and manage their condition is an
essential part of recovery. Physiotherapy is usually always recommended as the
first line of treatment before surgery and can have excellent outcomes, with or
without going under the knife.
If you want to know more please contact the clinic on 028 92666959
None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper
medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your
If you need to find out more about shoulder pain, check out our web page
Or to find out more call us on 028 9266 6959