Shoulder & Rotator Cuff

If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your shoulder stiff? Can you rotate your arm in all the normal positions?
  • Does it feel like your shoulder could pop out or slide out of the socket?
  • Do you lack the strength in your shoulder to carry out your daily activities?

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, you should consult an orthopaedic surgeon for help in determining the severity of the problem.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is one of the most important components of the shoulder. It is comprised of a group of muscles and tendons that hold the bones of the shoulder joint together. The rotator cuff muscles provide individuals with the ability to lift their arm and reach overhead. When the rotator cuff is injured, people sometimes do not recover the full shoulder function needed to properly participate in an athletic activity.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Athletes are especially susceptible to shoulder problems. In athletes, shoulder problems can develop slowly through repetitive, intensive training routines.

Some people will have a tendency to ignore the pain and “play through” a shoulder injury, which only aggravates the condition, and may possibly cause more problems. People also may underestimate the extent of their injury because steady pain, weakness in the arm, or limitation of joint motion will become almost second nature to them.

Orthopaedic surgeons group shoulder problems into the following categories:

Instability

Sometimes, one of the shoulder joints moves or is forced out of its normal position. This condition is called instability, and can result in a dislocation of one of the joints in the shoulder. Individuals suffering from an instability problem will experience pain when raising their arm. They also may feel as if their shoulder is slipping out of place

Impingement

Impingement is caused by excessive rubbing of the shoulder muscles against the top part of the shoulder blade, called the acromion.

Impingement problems can occur during activities that require excessive overhead arm motion. Medical care should be sought immediately for inflammation in the shoulder because it could eventually lead to a more serious injury.