Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I recently had surgery for an unstable shoulder. The doctor commented that the socket was tear-shaped. Is this normal? Did it contribute to the constant dislocations I was having?


Recent technology has allowed us to take pictures of various joints and form a 3-D view of them. As a result we now know that some shoulder sockets are tear-shaped. Others are oval.

At first there was some question that the shape might be linked to injury or instability. Scientists thought stress, load, and bone density might be related to the shape. However, a recent study comparing unstable joints to normal, healthy joints disproved this idea.

There was a shift in where the surfaces of the shoulder joint made contact. This change was linked to type of trauma (major or minor), not the shape of the socket.

Christoph Udo Schulz, MD, et al. Anterior Shoulder Instability Modifies Glenoid Subchondral Bone Density. In Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. June 2004. Vol. 423. Pp. 259-263.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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