Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Shoulder Pain & Common Shoulder Problems

Shoulder pain and common shoulder problems can arise from various causes, including injuries, overuse, arthritis, and other conditions affecting the complex shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint and allow a wide range of motion.

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, weakness, limited range of motion, swelling, and difficulty performing daily activities involving the shoulder.

Cause & Anatomy

  • Tendinitis/Bursitis: Inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) or bursa sacs (bursitis) around the shoulder, often due to overuse or repetitive motions. This includes rotator cuff tendinitis and subacromial bursitis.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear: A partial or complete tear in one of the rotator cuff tendons, caused by acute injury or degeneration over time.
  • Instability/Dislocation: When the humerus partially or fully comes out of the shoulder socket, often due to injury or looseness in the joint.
  • Impingement: Pinching of the rotator cuff tendons under the acromion bone, causing pain with overhead arm movements.
  • Frozen Shoulder: Stiffness and restricted range of motion due to adhesions forming around the joint, often after an injury or surgery.
  • Arthritis: Wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) or inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis) affecting the shoulder joint.
  • Fractures: Breaks in the humerus, clavicle, or scapula bones, often from falls or trauma.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis involves a physical examination, medical history, and may include imaging tests like X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound to identify the specific cause.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on the underlying cause and severity, but may include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery for more severe cases like rotator cuff tears or fractures.

In summary, shoulder pain and problems can stem from various injuries, conditions, and degenerative changes affecting the complex shoulder joint and surrounding structures. Proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing pain and restoring function.

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