The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. The soft tissues around the shoulder, including the labrum, capsule, ligaments, and rotator cuff muscles, stabilize the shoulder. Tearing, stretching, or injury of these tissues can result in an unstable shoulder.
A physical examination will determine how loose a shoulder is. X-rays and MRI are used to determine the integrity of the ligaments, capsule and tendons supporting the shoulder.
Physical therapy and strengthening of the muscles which support the shoulder will provide stability to the shoulder in place of the torn labrum and capsule.
Surgery should be considered when recurrent instability occurs despite an adequate course of physical therapy or if the likelihood of recurrent instability is high. Dr. Li performs all of his shoulder stabilization surgeries arthroscopically and with minimal invasion. Therapy is a key component of the recovery process and is started the day after surgery.