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Etiology can be subdivided into traumatic, microtraumatic, or atraumatic groups also includes congenital and neuromuscular causes. The atraumatic group includes patients who exhibit a voluntary component of their instability. In this classification, these patients can be further subdivided into group I: voluntary instability, which is arm-position dependent and usually posterior; and
group II: voluntary instability exhibited by the ability to selectively contract muscles, causing dislocation.

Although patients in group I can voluntarily demonstrate instability, they chose to avoid dangerous arm positions. This condition subsequently affects activities of daily living . Conversely, patients in group II tend to have an underlying psychiatric problem, using their instability as a means to control their environment.

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