Shoulder Instability - CHI Health, Nebraska (NE) - Southwest Iowa (IA)

What is Shoulder Instability?

According to Dr. Matthew Dilisio, Orthopedic Surgeon for CHI Health Clinic, shoulder instability is when the ball of the shoulder comes out of the socket. There are two main types. The first kind is called atraumatic shoulder instability - that’s where the ligaments are loose and the shoulder may shift. That responds well to physical therapy.

The second type is called traumatic instability - that’s more related to sports. That’s where a severe injury dislocates the ball from the socket and often there’s a ligament tear. Sometimes we need to repair the ligament back down to the bone to restore stability to the shoulder and get the patient back to sports.

What are the symptoms of shoulder instability?

The symptoms of shoulder instability can be pain. Usually it’s a subtle shifting of the shoulder. Often it occurs with heavy activity like sports. Sometimes the symptoms are severe enough where the patient can have the shoulder shift during sleep. When it’s that severe, we recommend an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon.

How is should instability treated?

Atraumatic shoulder instability responds well to conservative treatment in which we strengthen the muscles around the shoulder. Traumatic shoulder instability that results from a ligament tear, often requires operative intervention. We will fix the ligament with minimally invasive surgery done with a camera.

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