Dr. Patrick McCulloch: Orthopedic Surgery: Houston, TX

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Shoulder Instability Specialist

Dr. Patrick McCulloch

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine located in Houston, TX

Shoulder instability, whether from sudden trauma or repetitive strain, is a specialty of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Patrick McCulloch. He offers expert treatment for both acute and chronic shoulder instability, as well as recurrent dislocations, at three convenient Houston, Texas, locations: Spring Valley, Bellaire, and the Texas Medical Center. If you are experiencing shoulder instability or frequent dislocations, contact Dr. McCulloch’s office today to schedule a consultation.

Shoulder Instability Q & A

What is shoulder instability?

Shoulder instability occurs when the tissues that stabilize the shoulder joint, like the ligaments or the labrum, are stretched or injured. This causes the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) to move partially or completely out of the socket (glenoid), making the shoulder unstable.

What causes shoulder instability?

There are three primary causes of shoulder instability:

  • Shoulder dislocation: Traumatic injuries can dislocate the shoulder, causing the bones to misalign. Such dislocations often stretch the ligaments and may tear the labrum, the ring of cartilage surrounding the glenoid, leading to frequent dislocations.
  • Repetitive strain: Shoulder instability can also develop from repetitive overhead activities, such as those common in swimming, volleyball, and tennis, which stretch the ligaments.
  • Multidirectional instability: In some cases, individuals with naturally loose ligaments, sometimes described as being double-jointed, may experience shoulder dislocations in multiple directions without a history of injury or repetitive strain.

How is shoulder instability diagnosed?

The diagnosis process begins with Dr. McCulloch or a team member evaluating your symptoms and medical history. They will conduct a physical examination of your shoulder and may order imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans to identify any signs of injury.

How is shoulder instability treated?

Dr. McCulloch and his team start with a conservative approach to treatment, utilizing nonsurgical methods such as physical therapy and possibly biologic injections. If these methods do not alleviate your symptoms, or if there is a high risk of recurrent dislocations that could cause further damage, surgical intervention may be recommended.

Dr. McCulloch performs shoulder instability surgeries using minimally invasive arthroscopy when feasible. In cases requiring revision or when there is significant damage to the bone or cartilage, open surgery may be necessary. Both surgical approaches aim to repair the torn or stretched ligaments to stabilize the shoulder joint. Post-surgery, you will likely need to keep your shoulder immobilized in a sling temporarily, followed by physical therapy to enhance range of motion and strength.

For expert management of shoulder labral tears, instability, and recurrent dislocations, contact Dr. Patrick McCulloch’s office to schedule a consultation today.



Sports Injuries

Rotator Cuff Tear
Shoulder Replacement
Shoulder Instability
Meniscus Tear
Cartilage Injuries
Elbow Surgery