Shoulder Injury 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

If you’re like most people, you probably take your shoulder for granted. After all, it’s one of the most complex and strongest joints in the body. But what would you do if you injured it? Shoulder injuries are surprisingly common and can range from a simple sprain to a full-blown rotator cuff tear. In this article, we will discuss all the basics you need to know about shoulder injuries. We’ll cover everything from symptoms to treatment options. So if you’re wondering what to do if you injure your shoulder.


Why Are Shoulder Injuries So Common?


Shoulder injuries are so common because the shoulder is a joint that is constantly used. The shoulder is used to lift your arm up, reach for things, and move your arm in different directions. When you use your shoulder a lot, it can wear out and get injured. Shoulder injuries can also happen when you fall on your shoulder or when you hit it hard. Some sports, like football and rugby, have a higher risk of shoulder injuries because there are a lot of contacts involved.


The 4 Joints Of The Shoulder


The shoulder is a very complex joint made up of four joints: the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular joint, the sternoclavicular joint, and the scapulothoracic joint.


  1. Sternoclavicular (SC) joint (between the sternum and the collar bone) – this is actually the only bony connection that the shoulder has with the main skeleton.
  2. Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint (between the collar bone and the point of the shoulder called the acromion, which is part of the scapula or shoulder blade).
  3. Glenohumeral (GH) joint between the glenoid part of the scapula – the socket – and the head of the humerus (HOH) – the ball.
  4. Scapulothoracic (ST) joint is the ‘false joint’ between the scapula and the rib cage that it rides over. It’s referred to as fake sometimes because it is not a typical joint with cartilage, synovial fluid, and ligaments.


The Most Common Shoulder Injuries:


  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: 

This injury is caused by the rotator cuff muscles and tendons becoming trapped under the shoulder blade. Symptoms include pain, weakness, and difficulty raising your arm.

  • Rotator Cuff Tear: 

This injury is caused by a tear in one or more of the four rotator cuff muscles. Symptoms include pain, weakness, and difficulty raising your arm.

  • Frozen Shoulder: 

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It can make it difficult to move your arm.

  • Bursitis: 

This injury is caused by inflammation of one or more bursae near the shoulder joint. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce friction between tissues. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness.

  • Shoulder Dislocation: 

This injury is caused by the shoulder joint popping out of its socket. It can cause severe pain and swelling.


Treatments For Shoulder Injuries


There are a variety of treatment options available to help you heal from a shoulder injury. Which therapies will be most effective for you will be determined by the type of injury you have, how long it has been there, and how serious it is, as well as your athletic and everyday living goals.

Obtaining the correct diagnosis is critical, so make an appointment with an orthopedist who specializes in shoulder pathologies. It’s to your best advantage to work closely with a competent injury recovery therapist, such as a physical therapist, professional massage therapist, or athletic trainer, when healing from a shoulder injury. Unless you have an obvious tear or disease that necessitates surgery, you should instead choose less invasive rehabilitation techniques.

Active Release Techniques (ART) is one such treatment method for shoulder injury recovery (ART). ART is a patented, cutting-edge manual therapy that addresses all types of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. It is movement-based and targeted to a specific muscle or set of muscles. It breaks up muscle adhesions, relieves trigger points, improves range of motion, increases muscle elasticity, and improves joint biomechanics by separating muscle adhesions, breaking up scar tissue from old sports injuries, increasing nutrient and blood flow, and increasing muscle elasticity.

Shoulder injuries are incredibly common, especially here in the United States. If you’re someone who suffers from a shoulder injury, you know how frustrating it can be to not only have the injury but also to try and find information on how to treat it. Hopefully, this blog post has given you a good foundation of knowledge on shoulder injuries and their treatments. But what if you still have questions? That’s where Dr. Stephen S. Chen, MD comes in. He is an expert who is standing by waiting to help you get back to your life with as little pain and frustration as possible. So don’t wait any longer, pick up the phone and call him today!


Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?


Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions, including back injuries.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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