Shoulder injuries often involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities that require over-reaching.
The shoulder area is a complex combination of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and bones. When shoulder tissues are overused or irritated, injury may occur. Some injuries are acute, like from a fall.
Orthopaedic surgeons group shoulder problems by either instability or impingement. Instability means one of the joint mechanisms is pushed out of normal positions. Impingement is when the shoulder muscles rub along the top part of the shoulder blade. (Rotator cuff injuries also affect the shoulder.)
Often, an orthopaedic surgeon will prescribe a series of exercises aimed at strengthening the shoulder muscles. Anti-inflammatory medication also may be prescribed to reduce pain and swelling.
MRIs and CTs may be needed to diagnose more serious shoulder injuries. Arthroscopy allows a tiny camera to be inserted into the area to view and possibly repair the joint. Shoulder arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the rotator cuff tendons, labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues surrounding the area.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 5, 2018