8 thoughts on “Shoulder Feels Like It’s Coming Out Of Socket

  1. What will happen during the appointment w/ the orthopedist for my shoulder?
    I’m a 17 yr old female, and I hurt my shoulder back in August after I was waterskiing/tubing at a lake for 2 wks. I didn’t have any falls or accidents, but it was the constant pulling on my arms that caused this. I went to an orthopedist, and had an MRI arthrogram which came back fine. I have multi-directional instability and shoulder subluxation which means my shoulder slips in and out of socket (it partially dislocates) from the front, back, and down. I have loose, stretched out ligaments that’s causing this. I was told I could play the fall season of basketball and then to have a follow-up appointment when the season’s over at the end of March. I was referred to physical therapy. If PT doesn’t work, we’d look at surgery as the next option. The goal of PT was to build up my strength to hold my shoulder in place. So, I have done 6-7 months of PT (going to the clinic and doing it at home too). Even though my strength is great, my shoulder still slips in and out daily. It’s very unstable. It slips mainly when picking things up and bringing my arm so that it’s bent at my side (for example, picking up my purse, the jug of milk, even running down the stairs).

    I have the follow up appointment with the orthopedisy next Tuesday to have my shoulder re-evaluated. I’m afraid I may need surgery to tighten my shoulder up as it’s just so loose. What do you think?
    And what will most likely happen during this appointment?

    Thank you so much! (:

    • Well you have had the proper course of treatment for your injury.

      Unfortunately multi-directional instability (anterior, posterior, and inferior) is more difficult to treat without surgery. Your ligaments are made of a fibrous tissue that doesn’t receive much blood supply — so despite the PT of strengthening the surrounding musculature of the shoulder to help keep it ‘reduced’ the ligaments will likely be determined to need to be repositioned (tightened) through surgical manual means.

      You have a generalized capsular laxity as opposed to unidirectional instability (either anterior or posterior) — which due to the range of motion (ROM) of the ball joint of the shoulder makes it incredibly difficult to treat without surgery. (About 80% of patients with your specific injury do not recovery fully from physical therapy.. so your results are NOT unusual).

      At the appointment expect to do any necessary paper work, perhaps get your vitals checked by staff,.. and ses the orthopaedic physician. This doctor should do a thorough examination of your medical history (from all doctors you’ve seen, and his own notes),.. your treatment and results from treatment — and review your medical imaging (XRAY and/or CT and/or MRI) past and present.

      Your condition and prognosis , at this point, should be rather obvious given your reported history — but to be thorough the physician *should* manually palpate and move the arm/shoulder through it’s range of motion.

      He or she should ask you questions about symptoms you experience, pain, what causes the feeling of instability and in what positions/scenarios, any neurological symptoms (ie: Numbness/tingling etc), and general and specific questions about your symptoms. (Don’t be surprised if much of this is limited as the imaging does most of the talking).

      He or she will likely make the recommendation of a surgical approach due to your recurrent dislocation or feelings of instability during activities (and everyday function/life) despite your extensive physical therapy/rehab.

      He or she may decide for more therapy — but I would be surprised.

      The surgery, should you have it,.. is designed to repair and strengthen the ligaments that keep the shoulder in the joint normally. This surgery, in your case, will be a tightening of the ligaments for a capsular ‘shift’ primarily.

      Further surgical options should be discussed. Many surgeons will only do one type of their preferred method of surgery — and if this is the case will explain it to you.

      However, you can have ‘open surgery’ or arthroscopic surgery for your condition.

      There are pro’s and con’s of both types.

      For open surgery, it is as it sounds — it is a larger incision where enough of the shoulder is exposed to visibly make the repairs.

      For arthroscopic surgery an arthroscope is utilized — which requires some small incisions and the surgeon is working “blind” with a video camera.

      With open surgery the overall long term success rate is generally higher as it has been performed for a longer period of time and the surgeon will have no issues reaching and seeing all of the area(s) needing work. Further recurrence of the issue is lower with Open.

      However, the recovery time is considerably longer with open surgery and the post surgical pain will be , usually, higher. Though if this is the method recommended by your surgeon,.. don’t be scared — you will be given proper medication for the post surgical pain.

      With Arthroscopic — is that it is less invasive, thus less post op pain, and faster recovery. But it is ‘overall’ not as successful as open surgery.

      A good surgeon will be able to discuss both techniques in detail with you and give you his or her opinion on what is the BEST option for your specific condition. You have to trust your surgeon once you commit to surgery.

      If all of this occurs, you will then schedule a follow up appointment or the date of your procedure and be given any instructions to undertake the day before the procedure (generally for anesthesia).

      Take care,

  2. my shoulder sits lower and is incredibly painful?
    I do have a lot of problems with my shoulder and I’ve just noticed it is lower down than my other shoulder – not by a lot but it is noticeable. It’s very sore and I think it’s come out of socket. It does feel like it’s come out but I’m not sure.
    I know that my shoulder is damaged from the accidents I have had kayaking in the past and I do know it’s weak, I’m just too stubborn to stop kayaking. I am typing one handed.

    • It sounds like your capsule has been overstretched and is now relying on the surrounding tissues to stabilize your shoulder. Your shoulder appears to be lower because it is not positioned correctly in the socket, and it hurts a lot because it is relying on the muscles to keep the ball part of the joint in the socket.

      See your general practitioner, and they can run some tests, such as an MRI or an X-Ray, and then if they see something wrong, they will refer you to an orthopedic specialist or a physical therapist.

  3. If my shoulder came out of its socket once will it likely happen again?
    So I was playing a game and all I did was move my left arm across my body and up quickly and it felt like my shoulder came out of its socket but right back in. First off, did i dislocate it? Also, is that likely to happen again? It’s pretty sore today but it doesn’t look like there’s any bruising. Is this something I need to worry about?

    • Bad news. You are more likely to have your shoulder dislocated. The good news is that so far it has only been hyperextended which means the tendons and ligaments holding your shoulder together have been streched beyond what they should do. Try not to hyperextend your shoulder again because it can get worse!

  4. What would cause chronic shoulder throbbing?
    …I have neck and back problems and I now have chronic shoulder pain (Feels like my shoulder is being pulled from it’s socket). Does anyone know what could possibly be causing it?

    • It could be disc degeneration in your cervical spine, depends on how old you are, that usually comes bout with older age. It also could be any joint inflammation or cartilage tear from physical activity. But see the doc and get a Xray of the spine, especially cervical spine since those nerves correlate with the neck and bilateral upper extremities.