The shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The shoulder can become unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it in place. Stability comes from the muscle, tendons and ligaments anchoring the shoulder. Due its unstable nature, shoulder problems such as sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures and arthritis are very common. Treatment includes RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), exercise, medication and surgery.
Your rotator cuff is located in your shoulder area and is made of muscles and tendons that work together to help your shoulder move and stay stable. The tendons in the rotator cuff can tear when they are overused or injured and can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. The rotator cuff can be damaged due playing sports, jobs with repeated overhead motion, or a fall on an outstretched hand. Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, severity of the injury, and how long you've had the torn rotator cuff.
Shoulder impingement is an overuse injury that causes pain on the front or side of the shoulder. The pain is most intense when your arm is lifted overhead or to the side. Shoulder impingement is common in swimmers and athletes who play baseball, tennis, and volleyball, but also can affect weight lifters, gymnasts, divers, and rowers. Shoulder impingement is caused by rapid increase in overhead activity, weakness or strength imbalance in the rotator cuff or scapular muscles, posture abnormalities, instability in the shoulder joint or improper training or technique.
Shoulder impingement is usually diagnosed after a patient experiences pain caused when reaching overhead or moving their arms across their body. Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, behavior modifications or injections.