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Shoulder Instability

Our shoulder is a ball and socket joint, the equivalent of a golf ball sitting on a tee.  Thus, the reason we are able to move our shoulder in multiple directions, or at least we should be able to (with control of movement).  

Having full shoulder range of motion is ideal, having too much motion can lead to instability.  Instability occurs when the structures around the shoulder joint do not work to maintain the ball in the socket (subluxation or dislocation).  This can happen from trauma, wear and tear on the joint or genetics. When a person experiences instability in the shoulder joint, pain and fear of movement is often associated with it.

Instability of the shoulder can be in one direction: Anterior instability (subluxation or dislocation to the front of the joint)/ Posterior Instability (subluxation or dislocation to the back of the joint) or Multidirectional Instability (subluxation or dislocation of the front and back of the joint).

Once a subluxation or dislocation occurs, the ligaments around the glenohumeral joint can become over-stretched or torn, leading to an increased prevalence of recurrence.  So, how can we overcome an injury of instability? STABILIZE! Working with a physical therapist to learn specific exercises to strengthen the glenohumeral joint, will help the shoulder to return to normal function.  

The scapula and shoulder should work together to raise the arm overhead.  This is important for the shoulder to mechanically work the right way. When raising your arm up, ⅓ of the movement occurs at the scapula and ⅔’s of the movement occurs at the glenohumeral joint. The timing and coordination of these two structures moving are critical for stabilizing the shoulder in overhead movements. 


If you are experiencing symptoms of shoulder instability or have dislocated your shoulder in the past, the Dr. Amanda DeRosa can help you and show you specific strengthening exercises to stabilize your shoulder!  Call today, 619-693-8047.