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Shoulder Instability Diagnosis

Orthopedic Surgery

How is shoulder instability diagnosed?

After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine your shoulder. Specific tests help your doctor assess instability in your shoulder. Your doctor may also test for general looseness in your ligaments. For example, you may be asked to try to touch your thumb to the underside of your forearm.

Imaging Tests

  • X-rays. These pictures will show any injuries to the bones that make up your shoulder joint.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This provides detailed images of soft tissues. It may help your doctor identify injuries to the ligaments and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint.