Voluntary subluxation of the shoulder in children. A long-term follow-up study of 36 shoulders

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1994 Jan;76(1):118-22.


We reviewed 25 children who presented consecutively with voluntary (habitual) subluxation of the shoulder. Thirty-six shoulders were involved and symptoms had been present for an average period of 12 years. Eighteen children were managed by 'skillful neglect': all these had become fully active in the profession of their choice and were satisfied with the outcome. Two of them had required shoulder surgery in adult life but only after trauma. Seven children (ten shoulders) had undergone stabilising operations during childhood with the aim of preventing later degenerative arthritis. These patients were also active in their selected professions, but only three (five of the ten shoulders) had good results: two shoulders had recurrent instability, two were painful and one was stiff. None of the shoulders in either group had developed osteoarthritic changes. There was no association with emotional or psychiatric problems. We conclude that voluntary subluxation of the shoulder in children has a favourable prognosis and that there is no indication for surgical intervention during childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Shoulder Dislocation / complications
  • Shoulder Dislocation / therapy*