Posterior Shoulder Instability

Alaina Brelin, Jonathan F. Dickens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Posterior shoulder instability is a relatively uncommon condition, occurring in ∼10% of those with shoulder instability. Because of the rarity of the condition and the lack of knowledge in treatment, it is often misdiagnosed or patients experience a delay in diagnosis. Posterior instability typically affects athletes participating in contact or overhead sports and is usually the result of repetitive microtrauma or blunt force with the shoulder in the provocative position of flexion, adduction, and internal rotation, leading to recurrent subluxation events. Acute traumatic posterior dislocations are rare injuries with an incidence rate of 1.1 per 100,000 person years. This rate is ∼20 times lower than that of anterior shoulder dislocations. Risk factors for recurrent instability are: (1) age below 40 at time of first instability; (2) dislocation during a seizure; (3) a large reverse Hill-Sachs lesion; and (4) glenoid retroversion. A firm understanding of the pathoanatomy, along with pertinent clinical and diagnostic modalities is required to accurately diagnosis and manage this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalSports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • instability
  • labrum
  • posterior
  • shoulder


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