Imaging shoulder instability

Author(s): Dr Zeid Al-Ani

Hospital: Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 47, 551, 22-23


The glenohumeral joint is a synovial, ball-in-socket joint. It has the greatest range of motion of all joints in the human body, making it vulnerable to injury and instability. This can be classified by aetiology into traumatic versus atraumatic, or according to direction into unidirectional versus multidirectional instability. Unidirectional instability is usually secondary to trauma resulting in injury to the glenohumeral joint stabilising structures. Anterior dislocation, leading to anterior instability, is the most common type accounting for approximately 95% of the cases. Posterior instability is less common, accounting for 3-5% of cases. Multidirectional instability, on the other hand, is usually atraumatic and commonly seen in individuals with congenital hypermobility syndromes. This article will address the anterior type of glenohumeral joint instability, since this is the most common type seen in our clinical practice.

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