We use our arms in so many important ways every day, from shooting baskets to giving hugs, and our shoulders bear much of the load. For this reason, shoulder pain is both among the most common complaints and the most debilitating. Because the causes of shoulder pain are so varied, proper identification is crucial to effective treatment.
Shoulder pain is an extremely common complaint with many causes. Because we use our arms for so many common activities, shoulder pain can cause significant problems. In order for proper treatment, the cause of the problem must be identified.
Shoulder Bursitis/Impingement Syndrome
There are many different problems that can lead to inflammation and swelling of the bursae—the cushioning packets of fluid between our joints. Impingement is just one of those conditions.
Shoulder instability is a problem of a loose shoulder joint. Instability can be caused by a previous dislocation, or it may happen when the ligaments around the joint are too loose.
A shoulder dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the arm bone (the humerus) becomes disconnected from the shoulder blade (the scapula). Shoulder dislocations occur after falls or other serious accidents.
Shoulder separations are the result of a disruption of the acromioclavicular joint. This injury can cause pain and swelling of the shoulder.
Biceps Tendon Rupture
A proximal biceps tendon rupture occurs when the tendon of the biceps muscle ruptures at the shoulder joint. This injury may cause pain and a lump in the arm.
The SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior-Posterior) lesion of the shoulder is a type of labral tear—a tear in the labrum or the protective region of the shoulder. The most common cause is a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Bankart Lesion - Labral Tear
A Bankart lesion is a type of labral tear most commonly due to dislocation of the shoulder. The tear is mostly at the shoulder joint at the labrum or the protective region of the shoulder. Bankart lesions cause problems of persistent instability.
A floating shoulder is an injury pattern characterized by a clavicle fracture and a fracture of the scapula. These injuries cause a free floating shoulder and can lead to neurovascular problems.
Broken Collarbone - Clavicle Fracture
A broken collarbone is a break in the clavicle, the bone in your upper chest that connects your breast bone (sternum) to part of your shoulder blade (scapula).
Rotator Cuff Injury
The tendons of four muscles make up the rotator cuff in the shoulder, and a rotator cuff injury is a tear or inflammation in any of these tendons. Rotator cuff tendonitis is an inflammation of the shoulder tendons, while a rotator cuff tear is a ripping of one or more of them. Rotator cuff injury is known by several names, including pitcher's shoulder, swimmer's shoulder and tennis shoulder.