Shoulder instability is a common injury in contact and collision athletes. While the acute management is relatively straight forward, the controversy arises when considering the risks associated with return to play in athletes.

Shoulder instability encompasses a wide spectrum of injury from microinstability, through subluxations all the way to complete locked dislocations that require a manual reduction. To treat the in-season athlete with shoulder instability, one must understand the subtle differences in the types of anterior shoulder instability, the associated injury patterns, and the recurrence rates that are associated with return to play.

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