Think of the last time you used your shoulders. Chances are, it was dozens of times today. You might not consciously think about how much you use them, but as soon as one or both of your shoulders is injured, you’re likely to realize just how important they are to your ability to function. Here at Capital Ortho, our goal is to educate all of our patients about the most common shoulder injuries we see, what might cause them, and how we can approach treatment.
How Many Ways Can I Injure My Shoulders?
As with many injuries, the answer is that you can basically hurt your shoulders doing anything. Depending on your age, overall health, and what you’re doing, there are countless ways that a shoulder injury could land you in the hands of one of our doctors who specialize in orthopaedic care.
Your shoulder is a complex joint made up of many moving parts, including bones, tendons, muscles, and joints. With so many moving components, it’s no wonder that your shoulder is an easy body part to harm. Some of the most common shoulder issues we see are rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingement, dislocation, and frozen shoulder.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Your rotator cuff is what helps your shoulder joints stay in place. It consists of a group of muscles and tendons, with the job of keeping the head of the upper arm bone within the socket of the shoulder. Rotator cuff injuries most often affect people who use repeated overhead motions frequently like baseball or tennis players, painters, or carpenters. This injury can present itself with pain or a dull ache, sometimes with an accompanied weakness. Rotator cuff tears can come in varying degrees. Depending on how severe your tear is, we can offer non-surgical options like rest or activity modification, accompanied with physical therapy or medications. Severe tears may require surgical options.
Impingement is sometimes referred to as swimmer’s shoulder or tennis shoulder, and similar to rotator cuff issues, can come as a result of repeated overhead activity. The condition can sometimes be a precursor to rotator cuff tears and presents with pain and weakness in the shoulder. We can determine if that is your condition through physical exams and x-rays. The treatment options we offer are similar to those of a rotator cuff tear, depending on severity.
A dislocated shoulder occurs when part of your shoulder, the upper arm bone, pops out of your shoulder socket. This can be either a partial or complete dislocation. You may notice swelling, numbness, weakness, and inability to properly lift and use your arm. A dislocated shoulder can usually be solved by the doctor placing the arm bone back in the joint socket, a move that typically removes severe pain automatically.
Appropriately named, frozen shoulder refers to when you have pain and stiffness in your shoulder and possible difficulty in moving it. It usually affects people between ages 40 and 60 and occurs when thick bands of tissue form in the shoulder, restricting movement.
When To Seek Medical Attention
When it comes to shoulder injuries, the sooner you come to see a member of the Capital Ortho team, the better. Many shoulder injuries keep getting worse with time, so ignoring them or trying to self-treat can lead to long-term problems. If you find yourself experiencing shoulder pain or limited usage in your joints, book an appointment with Capital Ortho so we can diagnose your condition and work with you to find a proper treatment plan.