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Shoulder Instability Treatments for Patients from Hampton, Williamsburg & Newport News, VA

Shoulder instability is a common condition treated by the orthopaedic specialists at Tidewater Orthopaedics. The hallmark symptom is a general feeling of looseness and slippage (subluxation) of the shoulder during movements that involve raising the hand above the head, such as throwing a ball. Patients from Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Virginia, and elsewhere on the Peninsula often ask what causes chronic instability, and when it is appropriate to seek medical attention for shoulder pain.

As explained by Dr. Loel Payne and Dr. Nicholas Sablan – two fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in shoulder treatment at Tidewater Orthopaedics in Hampton Roads (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) – shoulder instability can often follow a significant trauma that causes the shoulder to dislocate. While the process of manually placing the displaced bone back into the socket (reducing the shoulder) can return the joint to normal function, it can also render it inherently unstable if the surrounding cartilage or ligaments are overly stretched.

On the other hand, shoulder instability can sometimes arise without a prior dislocation. For instance, the cumulative effects of repetitive motions can gradually wear down the shoulder joint and lead to instability. Regardless of the cause, instability can cause frequent dislocation, a very painful condition that usually requires emergency care.

Among those who are particularly susceptible to shoulder instability are certain types of athletes, including:

  • Baseball players
  • Swimmers
  • Volleyball players
  • Gymnasts
  • Tennis players

The symptoms of shoulder instability can sometimes be subtle. To confirm a diagnosis, a physician at Tidewater Orthopaedics will usually thoroughly examine both shoulders in order to determine and compare the patient’s normal ligament structure to that of the symptomatic shoulder. Treatment regimens that include limited rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy are often very effective for easing the associated pain and inflammation. However, if non-surgical treatment attempted over several weeks or months does not sufficiently stabilize the shoulder, surgery may be recommended to tighten the loosened ligaments.

To schedule an appointment to discuss shoulder instability with a physician, call Tidewater Orthopaedics at 757-827-2480. We make patient education a priority, and we do everything possible to help prospective patients make informed decisions about their treatment options.