Shoulder injuries are very common and are
frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive,
overhead motion. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities, such as
gardening, painting, and hanging curtains.
Most problems that arise in the shoulder
involve muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Athletes are
especially vulnerable to common shoulder injuries that can develop through
repetitive, intensive training routines.
Orthopedic surgeons group common shoulder
problems into the following categories:
Instability. When your shoulder
joint moves or is forced out of its normal position, this condition is called
instability. If you’re suffering from instability, you’ll experience pain when
raising your arm, which can also feel like your shoulder’s slipping out of
Impingement. Impingement is caused
by excessive rubbing of the shoulder muscles against the top of the shoulder
blade, which is called the acromion. Impingement problems can happen during
activities that require excessive overhead arm motion. If you’re feeling pain,
see your doctor about dealing with the inflammation, which, if left untreated,
could lead to further injury.
Shoulder injuries are very common and can occur throughout various stages of life. Shoulder injuries can occur during athletic activities, and also during work or regular activities at home. We specialize in both common and complex shoulder injuries at Baptist Health Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Call us for questions or to schedule an appointment.
Brent J. Morris, MD Orthopedic Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon at Baptist Health Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Common Shoulder Tears
A shoulder tear is an injury to the soft
tissues that give the joint range of motion and stability. A tear can occur in
the tendons, muscles, or labrum, which is a rim of fibrous tissue that lines
the glenoid. Two of the most common shoulder tears involve the rotator cuff and
Shoulder tears can be caused by repeated use or
by a sudden injury. Years of repetitive motion from sports or other activities
like chores or job requirements can lead to a tear. A dislocated shoulder
occurs when the humerus becomes dislodged from the glenoid, which can cause the
muscles and tendons to pull and tear. Symptoms include pain, a decreased range of
motion, and instability. Two of the most common shoulder tears are:
Rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles of the upper arm. These muscles allow you to raise and rotate your arm. If the tendons tear, the humerus can’t move as easily in the socket. Rotator cuff tendons can be injured by trying to lift a heavy object with your arms extended, or by trying to catch a falling object.
Symptoms: These include a crackling sensation when moving the shoulder, intense pain, and a snapping sensation if the tear is sudden. You may also feel weakness or not be able to lift your arm at all. You may also feel pain when pressure is put on that shoulder.
Treatment: Your treatment will depend on the severity of your injury. If the tear isn’t complete, your doctor may recommend rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Your provider may also prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain.
Glenoid labrum tear. The glenoid labrum is fibrocartilaginous tissue within the glenoid cavity of the shoulder joint. The purpose of the glenoid labrum is to absorb shock and provide stability within the joint. A tear in the labrum can be the result of trauma or repetitive shoulder motion. A common type of glenoid labrum tear is a SLAP tear or superior labral tear from anterior to posterior (SLAP).
Symptoms: Pain with overhead movement, catching, locking, popping, or grinding sensation, shoulder stiffness, shoulder instability, decreased range of motion.
Treatment: The main treatments for a glenoid labrum tear is:
Restricted rest. You should expect to ice the shoulder and rest for several weeks to your shoulder time to recover and regain strength. Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications and, in some cases, a cortisone injection for pain management.
Physical therapy. This will include gentile, passive, range-of-motion exercises for your shoulder done with a physical therapist.
Surgery. If physical therapy isn’t working and you still can’t complete overhead motions, or your shoulder continues to dislocate, your doctor may recommend surgery. This treatment will reattach the torn labrum to the bone.
Common Types of Shoulder Dislocations
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint.
The ball is the rounded top of the humerus bone in the upper arm, which fits
into the socket – the pear-shaped outer part of the shoulder blade. A shoulder
dislocation happens when the top of the humerus moves out of its usual location
in the shoulder joint. Doctors classify shoulder dislocations into three types,
depending on the direction of the dislocation:
Anterior dislocation. This is the most
common type of shoulder dislocation accounting for more than 95% of all cases.
It happens when the top of the humerus is displaced forward, toward the front
of your body. For younger people, the cause is usually sports-related. For
older people, it’s usually due to a fall on an outstretched arm.
Posterior dislocation. Posterior dislocations
account for 2-4% of all shoulder dislocations and are most likely to be related
to seizures and electric shock. The top of the humerus is displaced toward the
back of the body.
Inferior dislocation. In this rare type of
dislocation, the top of the humerus is displaced downward. It can be caused by
various types of trauma in which the arm is pushed violently downward.
Treatment for dislocation begins with getting
your bone back into its socket. Your doctor may give you medication for pain
and to relax your shoulder muscles. Once your joint is back into its normal
position, you’ll rest your arm in a sling for one to four weeks. You’ll also
begin a physical therapy program to help restore normal strength and
range-of-motion in your shoulder joint. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
or a computed tomography (CT) scan is often needed to further evaluate the
shoulder after a dislocation. If you continue to have severe pain, or if your
shoulder is still loose and unstable after physical therapy, your doctor may
Why Choose Us for Your Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Care?
In addition to shoulder tears and dislocations,
there are other common shoulder injuries that can occur, including:
Bursitis. The bursa is a
fluid-filled sac that cushions your joints. It can get swollen and irritated
when you repeat the same motions over and over, which can cause pain when you
move your shoulder.
Fracture. If you fall or take a
hard hit, a bone can break or crack. The most common breaks around the shoulder
are to the collarbone (clavicle) and humerus (arm bone).
Osteoarthritis. A degenerative joint
disease, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that can affect
any joint, including your shoulder. As the cartilage between bones breaks down,
they rub together, causing pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease that
causes your body’s immune system to attack the lining in your joints, which can
cause pain and stiffness in your shoulders.
Frozen shoulder. This condition limits
how much your joint will move. Abnormal bands of tissue build up in the joint
and keep your shoulder from moving freely. If pain or surgery have made you use
your shoulder less, adhesions can build up.
Learn More About Common Shoulder Injuries from Baptist Health