Shoulder Instability Specialist

Frank Petrigliano, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon located in El Segundo, CA

Shoulder instability feels like your entire arm might give way at any moment. Dr. Frank Petrigliano has extensive training in shoulder instability and related shoulder injuries and can repair your shoulder so that you can resume your daily activities pain and stress free. He practices at the UCLA Orthopaedic Center in Santa Monica, California.

Shoulder Instability Q & A

Are there symptoms of shoulder instability?

Yes. As with many shoulder problems, you may have pain in your shoulder. You might have chronic dull pain that lasts all day, or more acute sharp pain that only bothers you when you lift something, throw something, or otherwise move your shoulder joint.

If your shoulder instability is caused by a recent injury, you may also experience some tingling and numbness that runs all the way down your arm. Whether you have gradual shoulder instability, or an acute injury, your shoulder likely feels loose — like it’s slipping — and your arm feels weak.

What is the difference between a dislocated shoulder and shoulder instability?

You experience pain and weakness with both. But what’s going on inside your shoulder is completely different with each diagnosis. If you have a dislocated shoulder, your shoulder actually shifts completely out of place. Usually, this is caused by torn ligaments that can’t support your shoulder joint any longer.

If you have shoulder instability, ligaments and muscles around your shoulder joint weaken, typically because they’re regularly overstretched. This can happen if you’re an athlete who repeatedly throws a ball, or if you’re a swimmer, for instance.

How is shoulder instability repaired?

Dr. Petrigliano determines whether non-surgical options might help you. Some men and women with shoulder instability do well with physical therapy, activity modification, and anti-inflammatory medication. If your symptoms don’t improve though, you could need surgery.

Shoulder instability surgery is usually performed arthroscopically. Dr. Petrigliano can repair torn and stretched ligaments, allowing them to better support your shoulder joint. If your ligaments need a more complex repair, Dr. Petrigliano may have to conduct an open shoulder surgery.

Can my shoulder become unstable if I never had an injury?

Yes. You might simply have ligaments in your shoulder that are naturally loose (some people call this being “double jointed”). In this case, the ball of your shoulder joint can dislocate in any direction — the front, the back, or the bottom of your shoulder. The technical term for this is “multidirectional instability”. The treatment for this type of shoulder instability is the same as any other shoulder instability.

Major Insurance Providers Accepted

Here is a list of our accepted insurance providers. When in doubt, call your insurance company and see if we are contracted using our Tax ID number (#954505291). If you have any other questions regarding insurance, please contact the office. Thank you!

Aetna
AFTRA
Anthem Blue Cross of California
Blue Shield of California
Brand New Day
Cigna
Coventry Health Care
First Health
GEHA
HealthNet
Interplan
Medicare
United Healthcare