Shoulder instability is a common condition that is frequently treated by the orthopedic specialists at Premier Bone & Joint Centers in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The hallmark sign is a sensation of looseness or slipping in the shoulder when the arm is raised overhead.
What Can Cause the Shoulder Joint to Become Unstable?
Shoulder instability can develop after significant trauma causes the shoulder joint to dislocate, a painful condition that usually requires emergency care. In this situation, it may be possible for a physician to reduce the shoulder, which involves manually repositioning the bones in the shoulder socket. However, although a shoulder reduction can return normal joint function, it can also render the shoulder unstable if the surrounding ligaments are overstretched.
Shoulder instability can also arise without a prior joint dislocation. Through overuse, the cartilage in the shoulder joint can gradually wear down and allow the end of the upper arm bone to move partially or completely out of its socket. Certain athletes who perform repetitive overhead movements are especially prone to shoulder instability. These include baseball players, swimmers, volleyball players, gymnasts, and tennis players.
How Is Shoulder Instability Diagnosed and Treated?
The symptoms of shoulder instability can sometimes be subtle. As part of the diagnostic process, a physician at Premier Bone & Joint Centers will thoroughly examine both shoulders to determine the ligament structure of the healthy joint and compare it to that of the symptomatic joint. Conservative therapies such as rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and physical therapy can be effective for easing the associated pain and inflammation. However, if non-surgical treatment does not sufficiently stabilize the shoulder, surgery may be considered to tighten the loose ligaments.
If you would like to discuss shoulder instability with a shoulder doctor at Premier Bone & Joint Centers, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our satellite clinic in Cheyenne, WY.