It may not come as a surprise to hear that the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the entire body. The mobility is necessary for you to lift your hands overhead, or to reach out and grab an object directly in front of you. The complexity of the shoulder joint lets us swing a bat, or a golf club, and throw a ball. This complexity also puts each of us at risk of injury. We typically perceive injury to mean something traumatic. In many instances, though, it is shoulder instability that sends a patient to one of our New Jersey orthopedic offices.
Shoulder Instability Explained
Where the collar bone, the upper arm bone, and the shoulder blade meet, there is a juncture called the glenohumeral joint. It is in this structure where instability may develop, due to looseness in the connective tissue surrounding the various bones that meet here. This looseness allows movement in any one of the bones, sometimes to the point of dislocation.
One of the common reasons that joint instability may occur is the direct injury that has resulted in dislocation. This often occurs when one tries to stop a fall by stretching out the arm (and who doesn’t instinctively do that?), or from using significant force over and over again, as pitchers do. Any situation that severely stretches the shoulder ligaments, or tears one or more of them, may also set the stage for instability. Finally, there are some people who are simply genetically predisposed to loose joints.
Treatment for Shoulder Instability
The way that shoulder instability is treated correlates with the cause of instability. It is important to obtain an examination at the first indication of a shoulder injury to prevent further damage to the joint or the structures that surround it. Early treatment often means conservative treatment, such as physical therapy.
If shoulder instability requires surgery, this can often be performed with minimally invasive technique. Both Bankart repair surgery, which repairs shoulder ligaments, and capsular shift surgery, which focuses on “tucking” connective tissue around the joint, can be performed as an arthroscopic surgery. This means smaller incisions and a faster recovery.
Do you need Treatment for a Shoulder Injury?
Symptoms of shoulder instability, such as tenderness or noticeable joint movement or dislocation, should be assessed right away. We are here to help you navigate your diagnosis and your treatment options with personal, friendly care. To schedule your consultation at Advanced Orthopedics and Hand Surgery Institute, call (973) 942-1315.