Shoulder Injuries: Causes, Types and Treatment Options

The shoulder employs a network of muscles, tendons, and bones to allow proper function. An injury can cause loss of mobility, which may affect your quality of life. Find out how shoulder injuries occur and the potential treatment options Dr. Kristopher Downing La Jolla offers to restore mobility and function.

Causes of shoulder injuries

The shoulder is one of the complicated joints comprising three bones, the humerus, shoulder blades, and collarbone. The humerus is the upper portion of the arm bone closest to your shoulder. An injury or trauma can affect any of these bones, causing pain or inflammation.

Conditions like arthritis can also lead to bone degeneration, causing discomfort and pain. You may experience pain if your occupation involves repetitive work that strains your shoulders. Painters, swimmers, and pitchers are susceptible to rotator cuff tendonitis.

Types of shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries may vary depending on the patient’s physiological profile. Some of the common injuries may include:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis: Tendinitis is the inflammation of tendons around the joint. Rotator cuff tendinitis develops gradually over time. It causes swelling, tenderness, and pain on the front part of the joint and the upper side of your arm.
  • Shoulder dislocation: A dislocation occurs when the humerus disconnects from the cup-shaped socket in your shoulder. The deformity is usually visible through the skin. Another symptom is joint immobility due to swelling, pain, or scarring.
  • A shoulder fracture: A fracture is when the bone breaks after intense impact. The most common shoulder fractures are usually to the collarbone and the humerus. The primary causes of broken bones are automobile accidents or sports activities.
  • Joint bone separation: The bones can separate from the joint holding the humerus and collarbone in place. The separation happens when trauma, usually on the upper side of the joint, forces ligaments to detach.
  • Shoulder impingement: An impingement is a common but painful condition where tendons get caught in the bones when you move your arms. It typically affects the rotator cuff tendon, linking muscles around your upper arm.

What are the treatment options for shoulder injuries?

You can reverse shoulder inflammation and pain using several proven treatment modalities. Your doctor will choose therapeutic procedures that match the condition’s severity. Some cases only require rest and an ice pack. But it is wise to consult your doctor if the swelling persists.

Injuries like the rotator cuff tear may require anti-inflammatory injections to contain the swelling. Your provider may suggest physical therapy to restore joint mobility. Stretching and low-intensity activities may reduce pain and inflammation.

You can address severe cases with minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopic surgery. It involves inserting an arthroscope, a miniature camera, to examine the shoulder tendons and bones. The device generates images that help to direct instruments for the surgical procedure.

Your provider may also suggest other procedures like bone-preserving shoulder arthroplasty. The treatment offers a less-invasive alternative to traditional shoulder replacement.

To explore treatment options, contact the friendly help desk at Upper Extremity Specialists of Ortho 1 Medical Group today.