As an athlete (pro or amateur), you probably understand the complex motions perform and the strain your shoulder joints endure. If you have sustained a shoulder injury, you want the best treatment possible to achieve a complete recovery.
Here are some of the shoulder injuries and treatment options available at our facility in Walnut Creek, CA.
Common Shoulder Injuries and Their Assessment
The shoulder can be injured through impact, overuse, or wear and tear. Pain, loss of the ability to reach, lift, and swing the arm, joint deformity, and more can affect a person suddenly, or it can develop gradually and worsen over time.
When you consult an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist for an in-depth evaluation of a shoulder injury, you will undergo a physical examination and specialized imaging tests, such as digital X-rays, CT or MRI scans, and others, as needed. With the findings, along with your medical and lifestyle history and symptoms, your orthopedic physician will formulate a care plan to manage pain and help you regain as much natural motion and strength in your shoulder joint as possible.
Here are three of the most frequently occurring shoulder injuries we see in our practice.
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and their associated tendons located within the shoulder socket. The muscles lift and rotate the arm in a full 360-degree motion. With repeated stress and strain, advanced age or traumatic impact, the rotator cuff may stretch or even tear, severely limiting shoulder and upper arm motion and strength.
Many times, simple rest, immobilization with a sling, and pain meds can relieve mild rotator cuff tears. However, more severe issues can require surgery, such as arthroscopic (small incision) repair or even shoulder joint replacement. In all cases, physical therapy plays an important role in achieving the best possible recovery.
Additionally, the biceps tendon, which attaches the biceps muscle to the glenoidor shoulder socket, is prone to partial and complete tears. Non-surgical treatments are similar to those for rotator cuff tears; surgery attempts to reattach the biceps tendon to the bone. Many of these procedures are small-incision surgeries.
This chronic shoulder joint problem happens after repeated shoulder dislocations in which the top of the upper arm bone, or humerus, comes out of the shoulder socket, or glenoid. Connective tissue over-stretches and/or tears with this kind of injury, and if it happens more than once, instability can result.
Immobilization with a sling, pain medications, and physical therapy assist patients with mild instability to recover strength and range of motion in the shoulder joint. However, some people require arthroscopic or even open surgery to keep the shoulder joint fully engaged and to regain motion and strength. Physical therapy is key to a full recovery.
Symptoms of nerve and soft tissue impingement in the shoulder joint occur when the shoulder blade bone, or glenoid, rubs upon or impinges on the bursa and rotator cuff tendons. This prevents a person from successfully or comfortably raising the affected arm.
For many people, non-steroidal pain meds (NSAIDS) and steroidal injections provide temporary relief of pain and stiffness. Physical therapy, with an emphasis on mobility and muscle strength, is the key to recovery.
Some patients require surgical repair of the joint with arthroscopic techniques. This involves removal of some bone and bursa tissue to free up movement and relieve pressure on the associated nerves.
See Laura Timmerman, MD For Shoulder Injury Treatment
Dr. Timmerman is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained sports medicine physician with years of training and experience in hip, knee, and shoulder injuries and conditions. She advocates for and delivers the most innovative and least invasive orthopedic treatments available today. An example is the Regenokine Program, which promotes natural healing and a return of function for athletes and people with arthritic conditions.
If you have a shoulder problem, come see us for an in-depth consultation. You’ll learn your treatment options and receive guidance on preventing and recovering from both chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries.
Call our office team today for an appointment: (925) 952-4080, or request your visit online.