Pediatric Shoulder Instability & Shoulder Dislocations

Pediatric Shoulder Instability & Dislocations in Children in NYC

Treatment Options

Shoulder instability in children, like shoulder instability in adults, is diagnosed primarily through a physical examination, during which a thorough medical history will be taken. An X-ray or MRI may also be required to make a diagnosis. Conservative treatment is often the first course of action for cases of pediatric shoulder treatments. This commonly includes rest and taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. In cases where a traumatic dislocation has occurred, the arm may need to be immobilized in a sling for a short period. Physical therapy is often part of non-surgical treatment. This may include exercises to strengthen muscles and stabilize the joint, gentle heat and cold treatments, and movement re-education designed to change the way the shoulder is used. If conservative treatments don’t correct the problem, pediatric shoulder instability surgery may also be an option. Shoulder instability and dislocation surgical treatments usually attempts to tighten the ligaments of the shoulder joint, giving the humerus less room to move, thus stabilizing the joint. This can often be done arthroscopically, with small incisions through which a camera and surgical tools are inserted. Arthroscopic surgery usually has fewer complications and a shorter recovery time than conventional surgery. Children who have experienced a shoulder dislocation are likely to have it happen again, which is why proper treatment is critical. If your child is experiencing any symptoms of shoulder instability, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mendoza today and find out what treatment options are available.

Shoulder instability is a condition wherein the head of the humerus, the upper arm bone, has a tendency to partially or completely dislocate. Depending on the cause and the severity of the condition, pediatric shoulder instability can range from a minor annoyance that impacts certain activities to an extremely painful condition that requires emergency medical care. pediatric shoulder instabilityIn most cases, pediatric shoulder instability is the result of sports activities. Young athletes are prone to shoulder injuries due to the immaturity of their bones and joints, and prone to shoulder instability in particular due to the stress sports place on their already flexible connective tissues. Although rare, when complete dislocations do occur, they usually result from a fall with the arm out, or a traumatic injury during contact sports.

Causes of Pediatric Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability in children is more likely if the child:

  • Plays sports involving repetitive overhead motions, such as volleyball, swimming, tennis or gymnastics
  • Engages in ball sports but has improper throwing technique
  • Is “double-jointed” or has joint hypermobility
  • Has a family history of joint instability
  • Suffers from a fall on an outstretched arm
  • Has suffered a traumatic shoulder dislocation before, as the incidence of recurrence in children who have suffered a dislocation before age 10 is extremely high