This condition occurs when the tissue that forms a capsule around the shoulder joint stretches and can no longer effectively keep the ball of the humerus within the shoulder socket. Patients with loose shoulder may experience frequent shoulder dislocations.
Prior instances of shoulder dislocation, where the ball of the humerus slips out the shoulder socket, can stretch or tear the soft tissue that forms the capsule. Sports that require repetitive overhand motion, such as baseball, volleyball or swimming, are common culprits.
The main symptom is a looseness or feeling of instability in the shoulder as if it could fall out of place at any moment. This is called apprehension. Some patients may also experience pain, numbness and frequent dislocations of the shoulder.
The primary treatment for the loose shoulder is physical therapy with strengthening exercises. Other treatments can include cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe cases may require surgery.