Osteoarthritis Following Shoulder Instability

Although dislocation of the shoulder is a common injury, estimated to occur in 0.5% to 1.7% [1,2] of individuals, the association between shoulder dislocation and the development of glenohumeral arthrosis has not been well studied or established in the literature. Rowe and others have discussed complications arising from shoulder dislocations; however, there was no mention of de- generative arthritis of the glenohumeral joint [3,4]. Considering the association between dislocation or recurrent instability and degenerative changes in other joints [5], it would appear reasonable to expect a similar relationship in the shoulder, especially considering the damage to cartilage and bone seen after traumatic shoulder dislocation [6].

Neer first recognized that a subset of patients with degenerative arthritis in the shoulder had a prior history of surgical repair for instability [7]. Samilson and Prieto [8] formally described the condition they called dislocation arthropathy of the shoulder, and noted such a finding even in patients with a single dislocation and no surgical intervention. Although there has been further research in this area, the understanding of this relationship is still evolving.

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