Shoulder

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint made up of the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula) and collarbone (clavicle). This joint is the most flexible one in the body and allows for a full range of motion, but also makes the shoulder a common source of injury and instability.

 

We see a variety of shoulder problems. Some of the more common conditions and treatments we offer are:

BROKEN COLLARBONE (CLAVICLE FRACTURE)

The clavicle, commonly known as the collarbone, is the bone of the shoulder joint that connects the arm to the rest of the body. Clavicle fractures most frequently occur as a result of trauma from a blow to the shoulder, fall or motor vehicle accident.

X-rays will be taken to determine the type and severity of the fracture. Many fractured collarbones can be treated at home through non-surgical treatment such as immobilization and a sling. Healing occurs in 6-8 weeks depending on your age and the severity of your fracture. Patients with severe clavicle fractures may require surgery to repair the bone and allow it to heal properly, using a plate.

FROZEN SHOULDER (ADHESIVE CAPSULITIS)

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder as a result of a tightening or thickening of the capsule that protects the structures of the shoulder. Although the specific cause of this condition is not known, it most often occurs after recent immobilization of the joint or as a complication of diabetes. Frozen shoulder most often affects patients between the ages of 40 and 60. X-rays and MRI may be needed for the diagnoses.

Treatment for frozen shoulder may include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, injection with cortisone and physical therapy. Minimally invasive surgical procedure such as arthroscopy and manipulation, may also be performed with a goal of stretching or releasing the contracted joint capsule.

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder as a result of a tightening or thickening of the capsule that protects the structures of the shoulder. Although the specific cause of this condition is not known, it most often occurs after recent immobilization of the joint or as a complication of diabetes. Frozen shoulder most often affects patients between the ages of 40 and 60.

Patients with frozen shoulder often experience pain, stiffness and limited range of motion that gradually worsens as the joint becomes more and more frozen. Eventually, the shoulder will shift into its thawing phase, during which pain and stiffness subside and range of motion is slowly restored.

Your doctor can diagnose frozen shoulder after a thorough evaluation of your condition, as well as an X-ray or MRI examination, which helps rule out other possible shoulder conditions.

Treatment for frozen shoulder usually focuses on managing pain and other symptoms as the condition progresses. This may include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids and physical therapy. Minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as distension, arthroscopy and manipulation, may also be performed with a goal of stretching or releasing the contracted joint capsule.

ROTATOR CUFF TEAR

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that support the shoulder joint and allow for complete movement while keeping the ball of the arm bone in the shoulder socket. These tendons and muscles may become torn or otherwise damaged from injury, overuse, or degeneration with age can lead to pain, weakness and inflammation. Surgery is often needed to treat this serious condition.

Rotator cuff surgery may be performed arthroscopically or through an open procedure, depending on the type and severity of the condition. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia as reattach the tendon back to the arm. This is an outpatient surgery and usually requires physical therapy.

LABRAL INJURY

A labrum is a protective ring of cartilage found in the shoulder that provides stability, cushioning and a full range of motion. A tear in the labrum, known as a labral tear, is caused by injury or overuse and can lead to pain and “catching” of the joint while moving. While many labral tears can be treated by managing pain symptoms and undergoing physical therapy, some cases require arthroscopic surgical repair.

SHOULDER DISLOCATION

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint where the “ball” is the rounded top of the arm bone (humerus) and the “socket” is the cup. In most cases, the dislocated shoulder can be manipulated back into place by a doctor in a process known as closed reduction. Shoulders that have dislocated once are more likely to dislocate in the future, reoccurrence of the dislocation usually requires arthroscopic repair.

SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT

One of the most common causes of shoulder pain, impingement occurs when the front of the shoulder blade rubs against the rotator cuff as a person lifts his/her arm. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilizes the shoulder and permits lifting and rotating movements. If the rotator cuff weakens or is injured, the bone of the upper arm (humerus) can lift up, pinching the rotator cuff against the shoulder blade. The muscles can then swell further, creating a vicious cycle of pain and weakness that will not improve without intervention. Treatment usually includes exercise, anti-inflammatories, cortisone injection and occasionally arthroscopic surgery.

Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints (synovium).

Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis. Treatment includes use of anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injection, arthroscopic surgery, physical therapy and possible shoulder replacement surgery.  The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

 

 


To learn more about our Shoulder Procedures & Treatments, please contact us at (504) 349-6804 today to schedule an appointment.