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Home » Anatomy » Glenohumeral Instability treatment: Taping and Strengthening Exercises

Glenohumeral Instability treatment: Taping and Strengthening Exercises

Glenohumeral instability refers to the abnormal movement or dislocation of the shoulder joint, causing pain, weakness, and decreased functional abilities. It can be caused by various factors, such as trauma, repetitive overhead activities, or underlying structural abnormalities. Fortunately, there are effective  treatment approaches to manage glenohumeral instability, including taping and strengthening exercises. In this article, we will explore these techniques and provide a step-by-step procedure for their implementation.

Taping for Glenohumeral instability treatment

Taping is an essential component of the treatment for glenohumeral instability as it provides external support to the joint, enhances proprioception, and reduces excessive movement. The following steps outline the procedure for taping the shoulder:

  1. Prepare the shoulder: Ensure the skin is clean and dry. Shave any excessive hair that may interfere with the tape’s adherence.
  2. Apply an under-wrap: Start by applying a thin layer of under-wrap or pre-wrap around the shoulder joint to protect the skin and enhance tape adhesion.
  3. Anchor the tape: Cut a strip of rigid tape (typically 1.5-2 inches wide) and anchor it just above the biceps muscle, across the front of the shoulder, and around the back of the shoulder. This will form the base for the taping technique.
  4. Apply the horizontal strips: Cut several strips of rigid tape and apply them horizontally across the front of the shoulder joint, overlapping each strip by half its width. These strips provide additional stability and support.
  5. Create the figure-eight pattern: Cut two strips of rigid tape and create a figure-eight pattern around the shoulder joint. Start by attaching one end of the tape just above the biceps muscle, cross it over the front of the shoulder, loop it under the armpit, and then bring it up and over the back of the shoulder. Repeat this process with the second strip, ensuring it crosses the first strip in the front of the shoulder.
  6. Secure the tape: To ensure the tape stays in place, finish by applying an anchor strip over the figure-eight pattern and additional strips across the back of the shoulder joint.

Strengthening Exercises for glenohumeral instability treatment

Strengthening exercises play a crucial role in rehabilitating glenohumeral instability. They help improve muscular control and stability around the shoulder joint. Here are some effective exercises with recommended sets and repetitions:

Scapular Retraction

  • Stand or sit upright with good posture.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together, retracting them toward the spine.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat for 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

External Rotation with Resistance Band

  • Attach a resistance band to a sturdy anchor point.
  • Stand sideways with the affected arm closest to the anchor point.
  • Hold the band with the elbow bent at 90 degrees and close to the side.
  • Rotate the forearm away from the body against the resistance of the band.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Wall Push-ups for Glenohumeral instability

  • Stand facing a wall, about an arm’s length away.
  • Place your palms on the wall at shoulder height.
  • Lean forward and bend your elbows, bringing your chest toward the wall.
  • Push back to the starting position.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Prone Y’s

  • Lie face down on a mat with your arms extended overhead in a Y shape.
  • Lift your arms off the mat, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower down.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Standing Dumbbell Rows for Glenohumeral instability

  • Hold a dumbbell in your hand with a neutral grip.
  • Bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent.
  • Pull the dumbbell up towards your chest, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the dumbbell back down with control.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

It’s important to note that the sets and repetitions provided are general recommendations and can be adjusted based on individual capabilities and the guidance of a healthcare professional or physical therapist.


Glenohumeral instability can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, but with proper treatment approaches, it can be effectively managed. Taping techniques provide external support and stability to the shoulder joint, while strengthening exercises target the muscles around the joint, improving control and stability. By following the step-by-step procedure for taping and incorporating the recommended sets and repetitions for strengthening exercises, individuals with glenohumeral instability can regain shoulder function and reduce the risk of further injury. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan.

FAQS for Glenohumeral instability

Is taping the shoulder for glenohumeral instability painful?

Taping for glenohumeral instability should not be painful if applied correctly. However, some individuals with sensitive skin may experience mild discomfort during the application or removal of the tape. If you have any concerns, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional who can ensure proper application and address any discomfort you may experience.

Can I apply the taping technique by myself, or do I need assistance?

While it is possible to apply the taping technique by yourself, it may be more effective and accurate to seek assistance from a healthcare professional or a trained individual, such as a physical therapist. They can ensure the tape is applied correctly, providing optimal support and stability for your shoulder joint.

How long should I keep the tape on my shoulder?

The duration for keeping the tape on your shoulder can vary depending on the severity of the instability and the recommendation of your healthcare professional. In some cases, the tape may be applied for a few days or up to a week. It is important to follow the guidance provided to ensure optimal results.

Can I perform strengthening exercises without taping my shoulder?

Yes, you can perform strengthening exercises for glenohumeral instability without taping your shoulder. However, taping can provide additional support and stability, especially during physical activities or sports that may involve excessive shoulder movements. It is best to discuss with your healthcare professional or physical therapist to determine if taping is necessary for your specific condition.

Are there any precautions or limitations while performing strengthening exercises?

It is essential to perform strengthening exercises with proper form and technique to avoid any further injury. Start with light resistance or bodyweight exercises and gradually increase the intensity as tolerated. If you experience increased pain or discomfort during or after the exercises, it is important to stop and consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on modifying the exercises or recommend alternative approaches if needed.

How long does it take to see improvements with taping and strengthening exercises?

The timeline for seeing improvements can vary depending on the individual, the severity of the instability, and adherence to the treatment plan. Consistency is key, and it may take several weeks or even months of regular taping and strengthening exercises to notice significant improvements in shoulder stability, pain reduction, and functional abilities. Patience and commitment to the treatment plan are important for achieving desired outcomes.

Can taping and strengthening exercises completely cure glenohumeral instability?

While taping and strengthening exercises are effective in managing and reducing symptoms of glenohumeral instability, they may not completely cure the underlying condition, especially if there are structural abnormalities involved. However, these treatment approaches can significantly improve shoulder stability, reduce the risk of recurrent dislocations, and enhance overall shoulder function. It is important to continue with regular exercises and follow any additional recommendations provided by your healthcare professional for long-term management and prevention.

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