Shoulder Injury Treatment
The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body and is made up of three joints, many muscles, and ligaments.
The shoulder must be mobile enough for the wide range actions of the arms and hands, but also stable enough to allow for actions such as lifting, pushing and pulling. The compromise between mobility and stability results in a large number of shoulder problems not faced by other joints such as the hip.
At Bone & Joint Specialists, our surgeons use the most minimally invasive techniques to treat shoulder injuries and problems.
SOME OF THE SHOULDER ISSUES WE TREAT ARE:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Impingement syndrome (Bursitis, Tendonitis)
- Frozen shoulder
- Shoulder joint replacement
What is a shoulder injury?
The shoulder is a complex joint that is involved in the various motions of the arm. This joint is at work when we lift, reach, and even when we type or read a book. Due to the repetitive nature of shoulder motions, there is a risk of injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Damage to any part of the shoulder falls under the description of a shoulder injury.
Common shoulder injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tears. This injury affects the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. An injury here may lead to a dull ache deep in the shoulder that may or may not coincide with weakness in the arm.
- Shoulder impingement. Also referred to as rotator cuff tendinitis, this injury involves inflammation in the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Symptoms of shoulder impingement include tenderness at the front of the shoulder. Discomfort may occur primarily at night.
- Shoulder dislocation or instability. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, making it susceptible to dislocation and instability. A dislocated shoulder may be obvious due to visible malformation and pain.
- SLAP tear. This injury affects the upper portion of the labrum, the tendon that connects the biceps tendon to the shoulder joint. A SLAP tear may occur in the anterior (front) or posterior (back) of the point of connection between tendons, resulting in a limited range of motion and a sensation of grinding in the shoulder.
- Frozen shoulder. The clinical term for frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. This condition presents various symptoms over one to two years. Typically, the frozen shoulder worsens and then resolves.
- Shoulder osteoarthritis. A degenerative condition, arthritis in the shoulder joint involves the progressive wearing down of the cartilage that covers the bone in the shoulder. This results in the bones of the joint rubbing together, causing stiffness and pain.
What are the symptoms of a shoulder injury?
Many shoulder injuries can be treated without surgery. Initial care for mild to moderate shoulder pain involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Medical care should be sought right away if the following symptoms occur:
- Deformity of the shoulder and upper arm
- Severe swelling around the shoulder
- Severe pain and inability to move the shoulder
- An audible crack or popping sound in the shoulder joint
- Tingling or numbness around the shoulder or in the arm
- Inability to use the shoulder for normal activities such as brushing hair
The initial point of contact for shoulder pain may be a primary healthcare provider or an urgent care physician. Depending on the findings of the consultation and examination or response to conservative treatment, a specialist may need to be consulted. Our physicians have extensive training and experience treating shoulder injuries and can offer the caring and comprehensive attention you need.
Who are the candidates for shoulder injury treatment?
Treatment should be conducted right away in instances of severe, noticeable injury such as a dislocated shoulder or frozen shoulder. In addition to these situations, patients who are good candidates for shoulder injury treatment include those whose pain keeps them up at night or prevents them from comfortably performing normal daily activities.
What can you do to prevent shoulder injuries?
Fortunately, shoulder injuries often respond well to nonsurgical remedies. With certain strategies, irritation to the shoulder joint can be prevented or minimized. Experts suggest:
- Always warm-up before exercise and sports. A proper warm-up takes only about 5 minutes and prepares the muscles and joints for full engagement in an activity.
- Keep lifting at a tolerable level. This is important for those who engage in weight training as they seek increases.
- Maintain muscle tone. Weight training, even using bodyweight, engages the muscles and tendons that support the joints of the body.
- Stop early in instances of discomfort. If shoulder pain occurs, it is important to stop the activity and rest the joint.
- Use good standing and sitting posture.
- Lift objects safely, with a straight back and using the leg muscles.
- Use tools such as a step-stool when reaching for objects in high locations.
What can I expect at the consultation?
If special care is needed for a shoulder injury, patients can expect to discuss much of the same points that they have with their primary healthcare provider. Our orthopedic specialists may ask about general health, existing conditions, and family history. Of particular interest are conditions such as anemia, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and hypertension, because these health problems may influence treatment options.
Following the discussion of existing pain and medical history, the orthopedic specialist will conduct a physical examination of the shoulder. This aspect of the visit assesses swelling, skin condition, reflexes, and swelling. Our specialist may observe your ability to perform various motions such as lifting the arms in front of you, reaching behind the back, or lifting arms to the sides.
An additional aspect of the orthopedic assessment is imaging. X-rays may be performed to observe details of the shoulder joint. X-rays may detect abnormalities in the position, shape, or size of the joint.