Your shoulders are joints where the humerus, scapula, and collarbone meet; they are among the most used joints in the body and are therefore prone to injuries. Your shoulders help you perfume various movements, including combing your hair or throwing a ball. You might not realize how helpful your shoulders are until you suffer an injury and can’t lift your arm. The good news is that Dr. Kristopher L. Downing offers various treatments for shoulder injuries depending on the severity. Below are common shoulder injuries.
Rotator cuff tear
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles covering the head of the humerus, attaching it to the shoulder blade. A tear in one or more of the rotator cuff tendons can be partially complete. Usually, tears occur in the supraspinatus tendon, but other parts of the rotator cuff can be affected. The two leading causes of rotator cuff tear are injury and degeneration; the latter occurs slowly over time as you age. Rotator cuff tears are common in the dominant arm – the arm you use for most tasks. The common symptoms of this injury include:
- Pain when lying on the affected shoulder
- Pain with specific movements like when lowering or lifting your arm
- Weakness when rotating your arm
- A crackling sensation when you move the affected arm
Shoulder impingement is whereby a tendon inside your shoulder rubs against nearby bone or tissue as you lift your arm. It is a common cause of shoulder pain and usually affects the rotator cuff tendon. In most cases, an impinging shoulder improves with shoulder exercise, but sometimes it can be an ongoing problem. If you have an impinging shoulder, you may experience pain in the top and outer sides of your shoulder, which worsens when you lift your arm. The affected arm might also be weak, and you may have pain at night, disrupting your sleep.
Your shoulders have the subacromial bursae, which cushion the area between the acromion and the rotator cuff tendons. It allows the tendons and bones to glide without friction as you move and lift your arms. Fluid can collect in the bursae due to repetitive movements or injuries, causing shoulder pain which may come on gradually or suddenly. The leading cause of shoulder bursitis is repetitive movement, increasing friction between bone and tissue. Carpenters, builders, and painters risk shoulder bursitis because their work involves repetitive shoulder movements.
A separated shoulder is whereby the collarbone and shoulder blade separate or moves away from each other. The separation occurs when the ligament between the collarbone and acromion tears. Anyone can have a separated shoulder regardless of age, ethnic background, fitness level, or health condition. Trauma is a common cause of a separated shoulder, for example, falling onto your shoulder with enough force to tear the ligaments. If you have a separated shoulder, you may have pain at the top of your shoulder and a bump at the end of the collarbone. Treatment of a separated shoulder includes immobilization using a sling. You may need pain medications to relieve the pain and physical therapy to strengthen muscles and ligaments.
If you have shoulder injuries, book an appointment with your provider at Upper Extremity Specialists for treatment to improve your quality of life.