Common Shoulder Injuries Explained

Shoulder Injuries Explained

The shoulder joint has a unique and complex anatomy, with the greatest range of motion but the least stability. Therefore, it is more susceptible to aging, repetitive injuries, and strains than any other joints in your body. You may not reckon the significant role of your shoulders until you obtain an injury, limiting your ability to lift your arm. Shoulder injuries are common and may be due to different causes, including falls. Below are the most common injuries that your orthopedic shoulder & elbow surgeon La Jolla can treat.

Common Shoulder Injuries


A dislocated shoulder is an injury that occurs when the upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket. The shoulder is susceptible to dislocation since it is the most mobile joint. Although treatment may help you regain full shoulder function, your joint may become unstable and prone to dislocations. Most people with a dislocated shoulder visibly notice that the shoulder is out of place.

Other symptoms of this injury include intense pain, inability to move the joint, and swelling or bruising. Your shoulder joint may dislocate due to sports injuries and falls. Although anyone’s shoulder can dislocate, this type of injury is common among physically active people, such as males in their teens or 20s. You can reduce your risk of this injury by wearing protective gear when you play contact sports and exercising regularly to build strength and flexibility in your joints and muscles.


Shoulder impingement occurs due to swelling and redness between the shoulder’s tip and the top of the arm bone. In between these bones lie tendons which usually slide effortlessly. However, the space may become too narrow, limiting normal motion. As a result, the tendons and bursa become irritated, causing inflammation which causes swelling of the bursa and tendons. The swelling limits the space even further, resulting in pinching of the bursa and tendons upon movement.

Shoulder bursitis is often a result of injury or overuse, but it may be due to an infection. Patients with medical conditions such as arthritis, gout, diabetes, thyroid disease, and tendonitis are more likely to develop shoulder impingement. Treatment may include medications such as Motrin or Advil to alleviate pain and swelling. If you don’t respond to painkillers, your doctor may recommend cortisone injections or surgery.

Separated shoulder

A separated shoulder occurs when the ligaments between your shoulder blade and collarbone tear, loosening the joint connection and causing them to separate or move away from each other. This injury occurs most of the time due to trauma with enough force to tear ligaments. Anyone can obtain a separated shoulder injury regardless of age and physical health. Patients with this injury report pain at the very top of the shoulder and a bump. A separated shoulder often improves with non-surgical treatments such as immobilization and physical therapy. Your doctor may recommend surgery to alleviate symptoms and restore function in severe cases.

If you have further inquiries about shoulder injuries, consult your specialist today at Upper Extremity Specialists.


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