Chronic shoulder instability might be caused by traumatic injuries or weakening of the shoulder joint.
Once shoulder dislocation occurs, the joint is moved out of its socket partially or completely. This makes the shoulder joint susceptible to repeated episodes of dislocation, thus leading to chronic shoulder instability. In some cases, instability can occur due to the weakening of the joint capsule that arises naturally without any form of trauma.
Instability can occur in individuals of all ages. The condition is likely to develop among young men due to the higher frequency of engaging in high-impact or contact sports.
What are the risk factors?
The usual risk factors linked with chronic shoulder instability include:
- Those who engage in sports that place repetitive strain on the shoulder such as swimming or tennis
- Repetitive strain on the shoulder linked in certain occupations.
- Family history
What are the indications?
Generally, an individual with chronic shoulder instability might have the following:
- Numbness, swelling or bruising of the shoulder joint
- Evident deformity of the shoulder joint
- Significant shoulder pain and difficulty moving the joint
The treatment for chronic shoulder instability involve both conservative and surgical measures. It is also based on the root cause of the condition, whether caused by trauma or atraumatic in nature.
Some of the conservative measures include:
- Avoid activities that worsen the condition of the shoulder. The doctor will instruct the individual to refrain from physical activities until the symptoms subside.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected joint to lessen the pain and swelling.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be given to reduce the pain and swelling.
- Immobilization of the joint under a cast to limit movement in some cases.
- Physical therapy exercises must be started once the cast is removed to promote strengthening of the shoulder muscles, improve flexibility and lessen rigidity.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on chronic shoulder instability is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the usual causes by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.