About Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries and shoulder pain can happen in sports and everyday life. Causes of shoulder pain include sports, accidents, overuse and age-related changes. Shoulder injuries include rotator cuff tears, arthritis, bursitis and shoulder impingement.


Because shoulder pain has so many different causes, it’s important to get it checked out. An experienced sports medicine specialist can find the cause and treat it.



Internal Impingement
Shoulder Dislocations
Rotator Cuff


About the Shoulder

The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body. It is where the shoulder blade, upper arm bone and collarbone meet. The upper arm bone fits into a socket in the shoulder blade, and strong muscles and tendons hold all the bones together.




Sports-Related Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are most common in sports that involve overhead motion, such as swimming, baseball or softball, tennis, volleyball and weight lifting. Everyday activities that can injure the shoulder include overhead work such as carpentry and painting.


Common sports-related shoulder injuries include:
Rotator cuff injury
The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that help lift and rotate the arm. Tearing one of more of these tendons can cause pain and weakness, especially when you lift or rotate the arm. You might feel pain at the top of the shoulder, at the back (over the shoulder blade) or even go down the arm into the bicep muscle. The pain tends to get worse over time and is often worse at night. You might hear a cracking or popping noise when you move the arm.


Separated shoulder
A separated shoulder happens when the ligaments that hold the collarbone and shoulder blade together are damaged. A fall onto the shoulder can tear these ligaments. If the tear is severe, you might see and feel a bump on the shoulder. Pain can range from mild to severe.


Dislocated shoulder or subluxation (partial shoulder dislocation)
When the top of the arm bone comes out of its socket in the shoulder blade, the shoulder is dislocated. The arm bone can come out of the socket all the way, or just part of the way (subluxation). A dislocated shoulder can be very painful.


Some people dislocate the shoulder often. If this happens, a sports medicine specialist might need to repair the ligaments to help them hold the bones in place.


Shoulder impingement
This condition happens when the top part of the shoulder blade or collarbone irritates the rotator cuff tendons and area around them. This can cause pain when you lift the arm overhead or sideways. Athletes might feel pain when throwing or serving a ball. Shoulder impingement can cause weakness, stiffness and loss of mobility as it gets worse.


Clavicle fracture (broken collarbone)
The collarbone connects the arm to the rib cage. This bone can break if you fall directly on the arm or take a hard hit to the shoulder. Signs of a broken collarbone include a shoulder that sags forward, trouble moving the arm and severe pain. See a doctor right away if you think your collarbone might be broken.




Shoulder Injuries from Repetitive Motion

Many shoulder problems develop over time, so symptoms can come on slowly. Many people try to ignore shoulder pain or stiffness, but this can allow injuries to become worse – and more difficult to treat.


The most common shoulder injuries from repetitive motion include:


Bursitis happens when a small sac of fluid, called a bursa, gets inflamed. (A bursa normally cushions bones and tendons.) The inflammation causes pain, redness, swelling and warmth. It might be difficult to lift objects or reach overhead.


Tendinitis happens when the rotator cuff tendons are irritated or damaged. Overuse in sports or doing a lot of overhead work can cause this problem. Signs include pain, weakness and difficulty lifting or lowering your arm or placing it behind your back. The front of the shoulder might be sore.


Shoulder instability
If the arm bone slips out of its socket often, doctors say the shoulder is unstable. Repeated overhead motion, such as from swimming, tennis or some jobs, can stretch the shoulder ligaments and cause instability. Another cause is ligaments that are looser than normal. An unstable shoulder might hurt or feel loose, or the arm might feel like just hangs from the shoulder. A sports medicine specialist can help treat the problem.


Shoulder impingement
This condition can happen with sports or repetitive motion. The symptoms are the same as for shoulder impingement from a sports injury.


Arthritis of the Shoulder

Arthritis can develop when shoulder cartilage wears away over time. It can also happen after an injury, such as a fracture, dislocation or rotator cuff tear. Pain that gets worse with activity is the most common symptom of shoulder arthritis. As arthritis gets worse, shoulder pain can make it hard to sleep at night. Lifting your arm might be difficult.


There are two joints where shoulder arthritis can develop: where the shoulder blade meets the collarbone (the AC joint) and where it meets the arm bone (the glenohumeral joint). Treatment depends on where the arthritis is, what type it is and other factors. Many people benefit from a combination of treatments, such as lifestyle changes, exercises or physical therapy, and medicine. The experts at Hanover Sports Medicine can recommend the right treatment for you, including steroid injections or surgery if necessary.



Get Care for Shoulder Injuries

Do you have a shoulder problem? Not sure if something is wrong? Call Hanover Sports Medicine at 804-559-7463 or, Request an Appointment Online. We offer care after regular business hours,Ortho After Hours