I should have asked the same thing. Taking to the shops for alignment that, "set the toe and let it go", can contribute to the problems.
The shop I work with (also one I worked for in the past) will not only find them but indicate by measurement how much they move if loose. Going there is like going to the dentist. You just hope against hope everything is ok and they don't find loose parts. I always do a shake down before I go.It depends on how thorough that shop is. If you have a problem vehicle and the alignment readings look good, then you have to get creative. Like my tie rod disconnect. I have assumed before and wished I hadn't.
I agree and have experienced them too. Usually they pull one way then the other when corrected. A good shop will find them too when they do a “sweep” and one hangs.I see what you are saying but a binding ball joint may have no play. I was taught a long time ago. It is just how a-n-a-l I can be sometimes when inspecting for a problem.