It is commonly claimed that instability of the shoulder is associated with an enlarged joint volume. The purpose of our study was to assess the intra-articular volume in acute and chronic glenohumeral dislocation. Sixty-seven patients were examined by intra-articular infusion of saline solution. Three groups could be formed. Group 1 (n = 51) consisted of patients with first time traumatic dislocation, group 2 (n = 8) of cases with recurrent post-traumatic dislocation. The patients of group 3 (n = 8) suffered from impingement syndrome and served as the control group. The joint volume was correlated to the body surface area (BSA). We found a strong correlation between height, sex and intra-articular joint volume. There was no statistically significant difference in joint volume correlated to BSA between the three groups. There is no statistically significant difference in joint volume correlated to BSA in patients with traumatic anterior instability, chronic instability and individuals without glenohumeral instability.