The relationship between shoulder instability and subsequent glenohumeral osteoarthritis has yet to be clearly defined. There does appear to be an increased risk of osteoarthritis in patients with shoulder instability that tends to occur at a younger age. However, the exact nature of that risk and the clinical implications remain unclear. There is no evidence to support shoulder stabilization surgery for the purpose of preventing glenohumeral osteoarthritis. Patients who develop symptomatic osteoarthritis with soft tissue contracture after instability surgery may benefit from debridement or soft tissue release early, although shoulder arthroplasty is the definitive treatment of choice for advanced symptomatic disease. Arthroplasty is generally successful, although the outcomes are not as satisfactory as in primary osteoarthritis.