Shoulder Instability | Causes & Risk Factors


Is shoulder instability the same as shoulder dislocation?

No. The signs of dislocation and instability might seem the same to you--weakness and pain. However, dislocation occurs when your shoulder goes completely out of place. The shoulder ligaments are torn and can't keep the joint in place.

Shoulder instability occurs when the ligaments and muscles around it become weak. Ligaments and muscles get weak when they are stretched too much. Your shoulder muscles and ligaments might get stretched too much if you often throw a ball, hit hard with your shoulder in a football game or serve a volleyball really hard.


Shoulder Instability in Young Athletes by BL Mahaffey, M.D., and PA Smith, M.D. (American Family Physician May 15, 1999,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 09/00