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Shoulder Instability

What is Shoulder Instability?

Shoulder instability can occur both as a direct result of a trauma (eg falling onto an outstretched hand) or as a result of a variety of factors that lead to instability without trauma.


Broadly, shoulder instability results in dislocation or subluxation of the shoulder joint and can be defined as traumatic or atraumatic.


Symptoms of shoulder instability include: 

  • Trauma resulting in dislocation

  • Pain in the shoulder joint

  • A feeling of apprehension or instability (my shoulder will pop out) in specific tasks, especially above head or away from the body

Treatment options

Generally in each case consultation with a doctor or orthopedic specialist helps direct whether surgery may be an option. However, there is good evidence for conservative management of shoulder instability through graded exercise programs and task-specific practice (e.g. sports or work related tasks).

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