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Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability is a condition that occurs when the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments that surround the shoulder do not work together. The shoulder is said to be unstable and the joint may either slide partially out of place which is known as a shoulder subluxation or it may slide completely out of place, which is called a shoulder dislocation.

When someone suffers trauma to the shoulder area either from a fall or an accident, shoulder instability can result. Patients with shoulder instability will often complain about an uncomfortable sensation that their shoulder is about to "pop" or "slide" out of place.


The symptoms associated with shoulder instability and shoulder dislocations include:

  • Apprehension (fear that the shoulder will come out

  • Restricted motion

  • Popping or a sliding sensation

  • Unusual shoulder position-for example, the shoulder may hang down and forward and appear "limp"

Once a shoulder reduction has been performed, Dr. Parikh and his team will be able to determine the exact cause and root of the shoulder instability and the risk of recurrent dislocations with his physical examination and routine X-rays.



Often times, patients who suffer from shoulder instability and shoulder dislocations can begin a structured shoulder physical therapy rehabilitation program using exercises to help strengthen the shoulder joint. Physical therapy with ongoing strengthening moves will often help maintain the shoulder in proper position. Cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory medications are also used to help treat the condition and minimize pain.


There are surgical options for shoulder instability if therapy is not an option, or if it fails. Depending on the cause of the instability, arthroscopic surgery is the most preferred option. Dr. Parikh also performs treatment for instability. There are options such as repair of labrum which can be used to restore stability to the shoulder joint.

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