Shoulder injuries most commonly occur in athletes participating in sports such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. The injuries are caused due to the over usage or repetitive motion of the arms. Shoulder injuries cause pain, stiffness, restricted movements, difficulty in performing routine activities, and popping sensation. Some of the common shoulder injuries include sprains and strains, dislocations, tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff injury, fractures, and arthritis.

  • Sprains and strains: A sprain is a common injury which involves stretching or tearing of ligaments (tissues that connect adjacent bones in a joint. A strain is stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon (tissues that connect muscle to bone). These are common in people participating in sports. Strains are usually caused by twisting or pulling of the tendons.
  • Dislocations: A shoulder dislocation is an injury that occurs when the ends of the bone are forced out of its position. It is often caused by a fall or direct blow to the joint while playing contact sport. It is common in football, rugby and sometimes with work injuries. Rarely the shoulder blade can dislocate from its articulation with the rib cage in very high velocity road traffic accidents. This is called scapulothoracic dissociation. Rarely the joint between the collar bone and the shoulder blade can separate. This is acromioclavicular joint dislocation (ACJ dislocation)
  • Tendinitis: It is an inflammation of a tendon, a tissue that connects muscles to bone. It occurs because of injury or overuse. Tendinitis of the rotator cuff tendons (most commonly supraspinatus tendinitis) or of the upper end of the biceps muscle (long head bicipital tendinitis)  are common.
  • Bursitis: It is an inflammation of fluid filled sac called bursa that protects and cushions your joints. Bursitis can be caused by chronic overuse, injury, arthritis, gout, or infection. The bursa between the upper end of the arm bone and the shoulder blade is commonly inflamed. This is called subacromial bursitis.
  • Rotator cuff injury:The rotator cuff consists of tendons and muscles that hold the bones of the shoulder joint together. Rotator cuff muscles allow you to move your arm up and down. Rotator cuff injuries or tears  often cause pain, weakness and in late cases a decreased range of motion.
  • Fractures: A fracture is a break in the bone that commonly occurs because of injury, such as a fall or a direct blow to the shoulder. A fracture of the upper end of the rm bone is called a proximal humerus fracture. A fracture of the socket of the shoulder joint is called a glenoid fracture. A fracture just below the ball of the shoulder ball and socket joint is called humeral neck fracture. A fracture of the shoulder blade is called a scapula fracture. A fracture of the middle of the arm bone is called a humerus shaft fracture. A break in the collar bone is called a clavicle fracture.

Early treatment is necessary to prevent serious shoulder injuries. The immediate mode of treatment recommended for shoulder injuries is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Dr Bala may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce the swelling and pain. Some of these injuries can be treated conservatively while others may need surgery. Dr Bala may recommend a series of exercises to strengthen shoulder muscles and to regain shoulder movement.