The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle), and shoulder blade (scapula). The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. The shoulder is one of the most commonly injured areas in the body. Shoulder injuries most commonly occur during sports, work-related activities, chores around the home, or after falls from a height. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness, or stiffness. Pain after an injury is typically from a simple muscle strain or ligament sprain that heals fairly quickly with minimal treatment. There are, however, times when shoulder pain can result from significant structural damage that should not be ignored.
Patients do not always recall a specific injury, especially if symptoms started gradually or during routine activities. Overuse injuries can occur from excessive stress to the joint or through repetitive activities. Overuse injuries can include:
- Inflammation of the sac of fluid that cushions and lubricates the joint area between one bone and another bone, tendon, or the skin (bursitis).
- Inflammation of the strong, cord-like structures (tendons) that connect muscles to bones (tendinitis). Bicipital tendinitis is inflammation of one of the tendons that attach the muscle (biceps) on the front of the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder joint. The inflammation usually occurs along the groove (bicipital groove) where the tendon passes over the humerus to attach just above the shoulder joint.
- Muscle “pull” or strain.
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), which is a condition that restricts shoulder movement. This condition is sometimes caused by injury, leading to lack of use due to pain, but also often arises spontaneously with no obvious preceding trigger.
- Overhead arm movements, which can cause tendons to rub against part of the shoulder blade called the acromion. This scraping may lead to abrasion, inflammation or even tearing of the rotator cuff tendons (a condition called impingement syndrome).
At the Duval Orthopaedic Clinic our shoulder specialists are experts at evaluating and treating shoulder pain.