Shoulder joint instability is very often caused by sudden severe injuries resulting from traffic accidents or unfortunate falls, e.g. while skiing. As a result of dislocation of the head of the shoulder guests in the area of the shoulder joint, various injuries can occur, the most common of which are:
- damage to Hill-Sachs,
- damage to the Bankart helix,
- SLAP damage,
- Bankart fracture,
- rupture of rotator cuff rings.
These are acute injuries. It also happens that dislocation of the humeral head occurs several times over time – this condition is referred to as recurrent shoulder instability. This is usually the result of previous injuries not healed properly.
Shoulder instability – symptoms
Acute shoulder instability – immediately after the injury that causes it – manifests itself in strong, very distressing pain during any attempts to move the arm. The shoulder is swollen and the patient has a sense of its incorrect positioning, especially some kind of looseness in the joint. There are also situations when the shoulder suddenly jumps out of its place and jumps back into it itself.
These symptoms should be consulted with your doctor immediately. If shoulder instability is the result of a very serious injury, or if it persists for a long time, it may have complications in the form of damage to the nerves in the upper limb. Then, patients develop various types of disorders in the functioning of the entire hand, and even other elements of the musculoskeletal system.
What about shoulder instability? Exercise, medication, surgery
In order to make a diagnosis, a detailed medical history, physical examination and imaging tests – usually X-rays (allows to visualize the bones of the shoulder) and magnetic resonance imaging (enables imaging of muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues) are required.
Which treatment options are right for you depends on how severe your shoulder instability is. Exercises performed under the supervision of a physiotherapist and specialized treatments (cryotherapy, massages, ultrasounds) are usually the first element of therapy – they improve the stability of the joint and strengthen the shoulder muscles. Complementary are also used painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also important to avoid physical activity that could aggravate the injury.
If conservative treatment is not working as expected, surgery may be necessary. Shoulder arthroscopy aims to reconstruct the stretched or broken ligaments that keep the joint in the correct position. Depending on the needs, the doctor can also repair the damaged labrum and even perform a bone transplant. After the procedure, it is required to immobilize the shoulder for several weeks, and then – appropriate rehabilitation.