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The diagnosis and management of glenohumeral instability have received a dramatic increase in attention among clinicians, researchers, trainers, employers, and bioengineers in the recent literature and at lectures and conferences internationally. More sophisticated and refined evaluation methods, imaging studies, surgical and rehabilitation techniques, and surgical instrumentation have enabled physicians and others in health-related fields to understand and treat patients in a more precise way with improved predictability of the end result of treatment. Although newer surgical techniques will require a longer follow-up period before researchers can make valid conclusions, early experience with modern arthroscopic stabilization techniques is encouraging. This article focuses on the classification scheme and on the clinical history and examination of the patient with glenohumeral joint instability. The methods described in this paper are important elements in designing an overall effective treatment program for the patient.