Shoulder Injuries & Conditions

Common Injuries of the Shoulder

 

The biomechanics of the shoulder are complex, requiring a total of four joints that connect the arms and shoulders to the chest and allow for a full range of motion from lifting to putting the hands in precise positions.

 

Only when this range of motion is compromised, do most people appreciate the sophisticated design of the shoulder’s anatomy.

Dislocations of the shoulder are common in any sport such as skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking, where there is risk of falling on the shoulder.

 

Shoulders can dislocate in several directions: posterior, anterior and inferior. Putting the shoulder back into proper position should not be attempted by anyone without the proper medical training; in some cases, surgery may be required.

Damage to the shoulder’s rotator cuff can be caused by traumatic injury, or by repetitive overhead activity (weightlifting, tennis).

 

The rotator cuff is formed by four tendons that attach to the muscles that keep the shoulder stabilized and in its socket. When the rotator cuff is damaged, the shoulder is weak and movement is painful; it may be difficult or impossible to raise the arm over-head. Should non-operative treatments fail, surgical interventions include debridement and artificial shoulder replacement.

Shoulder impingement can describe any number of symptoms, from generalized aches in the shoulder to pain and difficulty when raising the arm out to the side, or in front of the body.

 

The impingement can be coming from inflamed tendons (tendonitis) or inflamed bursae (bursitis). Bone spurs can also complicate the impingement. Careful diagnosis is needed to determine the cause of the impingement and the most effective treatment.