Causes and Treatment Options
The ball-and-socket shoulder joint is one of the workhorse joints of the body, used ina wide variety of functions, including most types of sports and simply lifting a cup ofcoffee or eating a sandwich. The shoulder is the most moveable joint in your body. Unfortunately, with overuse, or in the event of a traumatic injury, the ball at the endof your humerus (the upper arm bone) can be forced out of its socket, leading to a condition known as “shoulder instability,” or chronic shoulder dislocation. If the ball is only partially dislocated, it is known as subluxation.
Common Causes of Shoulder Dislocation or Instability
The most frequent cause of shoulder dislocation or instability is a traumatic accident. You might trip and reach out your hand to break your fall, putting sudden undue stress on the shoulder joint. Playing sports that require repetitive overhead movement of the hands, such as tennis, volleyball, baseball, and swimming, also can make you more susceptible to shoulder instability through gradual deteriorationof bone. Additionally, some people have congenital conditions that include an enlarged shoulder socket or loose ligaments in the shoulder.
Indications You May Have Some Shoulder Instability
You don’t need to experience subluxation or dislocation to be at risk for potential shoulder instability. Some of the warning signs include the following:
- Grinding or popping when you rotate your shoulder
- Swelling or bruising in the shoulder (which may indicate partial dislocation)
- Numbness or partial paralysis in a shoulder joint
- Pain when you use or move your shoulder
- Loss of full use or function of the shoulder
Treatment for Shoulder Instability
One of the first steps a medical professional will take is to put your shoulder back into joint and make sure it’s properly aligned. You should rest the shoulder as much as possible and use ice or medication for swelling and pain. If your shoulder joint does not heal properly through non-invasive strategies, you may want to consider arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure.