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Shoulder Dislocation/Instability Specialist

Brent J. Morris, MD

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon located in Lexington, KY

When the ligaments that stabilize your shoulder are damaged, you end up with shoulder instability and a high risk of joint dislocation. As a specialist in shoulder injuries, Brent J. Morris, MD, in Lexington, Kentucky, ensures that you receive comprehensive treatment for shoulder problems, providing advanced care that prevents progressive weakness and recurring dislocations. If you want to restore optimal shoulder strength, call the office.

Shoulder Dislocation/Instability Q & A

What causes shoulder dislocation and instability?

Shoulder instability occurs after you suffer a shoulder dislocation. You’re most likely to dislocate your shoulder during a sports injury or by falling on your shoulder. 

The glenohumeral joint is the main ball-and-socket joint, where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the shoulder socket. Your shoulder dislocates when the ligaments that stabilize this joint are injured, allowing the arm bone to partially or totally leave the socket.

Chronic shoulder instability develops when the ligaments, as well as injured tendons and muscles, don’t heal properly, and they remain too weak to hold your arm in the shoulder socket. Without proper treatment, you’ll continue to experience frequent dislocations that contribute to progressively worsening instability.

What symptoms develop due to shoulder dislocation and instability?

Joint instability is one of the key symptoms of shoulder dislocation. You may also experience:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Deformed shoulder
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling down your arm
  • Limited arm movement

Dislocation may also damage the nerves and cause ruptured ligaments or tendons.

How are shoulder dislocation and instability treated?

When your shoulder is injured, apply ice. Don’t try to move your shoulder or put it back in place, because you could do more damage to the soft tissues. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Morris to get a thorough evaluation and the treatment you need to restore strength and mobility.

When you sustain a shoulder dislocation, Dr. Morris immediately places the bone back into its proper position in the joint, a procedure called a reduction. Then your shoulder is immobilized. When the pain lessens and swelling goes down, you can start rehabilitation to begin restoring strength and movement.

Before recommending surgery, Dr. Morris evaluates the severity of the damage to your ligaments and other soft tissues and talks with you about your activity goals. He also determines your potential risk for ongoing instability and recurring dislocations. 

As a general guideline, if you want to regain optimal strength, and especially if you want to return to high-intensity sports or work activities that demand shoulder strength and overhead movement, you’ll need surgery to repair the ligament and reconstruct the damaged soft tissues.

If you sustain a shoulder dislocation or instability, call Brent J. Morris, MD.