Shoulder Instability


  • Throwers (baseball/ cricket etc.)
  • Swimmers
  • Acute injury (car accident/ footy collision)
  • Young persons (double jointed)


Shoulder instability is broad term that describes the condition whereby the connective tissue around the shoulder joint becomes lax, allowing greater range of motion at the shoulder than is normal.

The shoulder joint, or gleno-humeral joint, is a ball and socket joint, compromised of the head of the humerus sitting within a cup shaped socket, referred to as the acetabulum. Ligaments, tendons and the rotator cuff muscles are responsible for holding the humerus within the acetabulum. When these structures are injured, or are naturally looser, an excessive amount of movement can occur between the humerus and acetabulum.

This increase range can result in patients being able to sublux or even dislocate the shoulder joint. Pain is not necessarily always present but can be common at the joint itself or even referred down the arm and into the hand.


Broadly, connective tissue laxity can occur due to an acute injury or trauma, chronic repetitive strain or simply occurs naturally since birth/ early childhood. In an acute incident such as a traumatic fall or collision the ligamentous and muscular tissue can be overstretched or even torn which results in this tissue become loose and less supportive to the joint. Similar chronic injuries such as repetitive throwing and over-head activities also cause the connective tissue to become looser over time. In some cases, however, a person may simply be born with more mobile joints and is often termed as being “double jointed.”


Management in all cases is fairly similar and straightforward. In order to allow greater support to the shoulder joints, the connective tissue and muscles must be strengthened, whilst movement patterns need to be assessed and activity modifications need to be put in place to prevent re-occurring injuries and damage to the connective tissue.

At any of our Move Forward Physiotherapy clinics an individualized program and treatment plan will be prescribed to help reduce the strain placed on your shoulder muscles and tendons in order to best manage your injury and to prevent any ongoing long term pain.

A number of techniques may be used throughout your rehabilitation, which may include;
• Deep tissue massage
• Dry needling
• Joint mobilisations
• Stretching exercises
• Strengthening exercises can be incorporated into a Pilates program at both our Quinns Physiotherapy and Jindalee Physiotherapy Move Forward practices.
• Heat and/or ice therapy
• Taping
• Activity modifications, performed under physio supervision at our Hillarys Physiotherapy, located just next to Whitfords Shopping centre within Healthy Life Gym.