Anatomy and Biomechanics of the Unstable Shoulder

Ricardo Cuéllar1, Miguel Angel Ruiz-Ibán2, Adrián Cuéllar3, *
1 Deparment of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery of Universitary Donostia Hospital San Sebastián, Spain
2 Departaments of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery of the Universitary Ramon and Cajal Hospital Madrid, Spain
3 Deparment of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery of Galdácano-Usánsolo Hospital Galdácano, Spain

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© 2017 Cuéllar et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery, Galdakao Hospital, University of Basque Country. c./Labeaga, s/n, 48960 Usansolo, Vizcaya, Galdácano, Spain; Tel: 0034657710120; E-mail:



To review the anatomy of the shoulder joint and of the physiology of glenohumeral stability is essential to manage correctly shoulder instability.


It was reviewed a large number of recently published research studies related to the shoulder instability that received a higher Level of Evidence grade.


It is reviewed the bony anatomy, the anatomy and function of the ligaments that act on this joint, the physiology and physiopathology of glenohumeral instability and the therapeutic implications of the injured structures.


This knowledge allows the surgeon to evaluate the possible causes of instability, to assess which are the structures that must be reconstructed and to decide which surgical technique must be performed.

Keywords: Ligaments, Physiology of stability, Propioception, Physiopathology of the glenohumeral instability, Shoulder anatomy, Therapeutic implications.