Recurrent traumatic glenohumeral instability is a complex problem with multiple variables to consider, but patient demographics, activities, as well as clinical and radiographic findings provide significant information to help choose the best treatment option. Although nonoperative treatment is a viable option for primary glenohumeral instability and in-season instability, recurrent instability exhibits anatomic factors which render nonsurgical treatment limited in scope. A proper patient history, clinical examination, and standard and advanced imaging are necessary in the assessment of patients with recurrent traumatic instability. Age, activity, hypermobility, tissue quality, glenoid and humeral head bone stock, and any prior surgical treatment are factors that must be considered for surgical planning. Open and arthroscopic Bankart repairs are good surgical options when bone loss is not an issue but increasing glenoid or humeral osseous deficiency in this setting frequently warrants additional procedures which address bony insufficiency. Controversy remains concerning the threshold value for glenoid bony deficiency and combined, bipolar defects, but this critical number may be less than previously suspected. Despite this controversy, successful surgical treatment of recurrent glenohumeral instability is possible when properly assessed and the correct surgery applied.