What Hurts: Shoulder


There are many injuries that can cause problems with the movement and function of a person’s shoulder. Below you will find information on some of these injuries as well as information regarding some of the processes used to help repair any possible damage.

For information on the Beacon physicians who treat patients with shoulder injuries, please click here.


Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and their related muscles that help keep the shoulder and upper arm bone securely placed in to the socket of the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder joint and helps you to raise and rotate your arms.

Dr. Argo Discusses the Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Injuries:


Rotator Cuff Tears

There are three stages of rotator cuff tears:

• A stage 1 tear is a partial tear less than 1 cm in size. It is accompanied by some pain following overhead arm movements, but range of motion is not limited.

• A stage 2 tear is a partial tear greater than 1 cm but less than 5 cm in length. Pain is common during and after overhead arm movements, as well as at night. It may be accompanied by a slight decrease in range of motion.

• A stage 3 tear is a full tear greater than 5 cm in size. Stiffness, weakness, and pain occur during and after overhead arm movements and during sleep. There may be a slight to severe decrease in range of motion in the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Surgery

Shoulder surgery for rotator cuff problems usually involves one or more of the following procedures: debridement, subacromial decompression, rotator cuff repair. Debridement clears damaged tissue out of the shoulder joint. Subacromial decompression involves shaving bone or removing spurs underneath the tip of the shoulder blade (acromion). This creates more room in the space between the end of the shoulder blade and the upper arm bone so that the rotator cuff tendon is not pinched and can glide smoothly. If the rotator cuff tendon is torn, it is sewn together and reattached to the top of the upper arm bone.

Dr. Kremchek Discusses Rotator Cuff Surgery


Shoulder Impingement

Impingement syndrome is a common disorder of the shoulder that refers to an improper alignment of the bones and tissues in the upper arm. Inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis are all closely related to impingement syndrome, as are tears to the rotator cuff tendons.

If the rotator cuff becomes inflamed from overuse or there is a bone deformity or spur on the end of the shoulder blade, then the space between the upper arm bone and tip of the shoulder blade is narrowed, causing the rotator cuff and its fluid-filled bursa to be squeezed or pinched. This impingement causes irritation and pain to the rotator cuff when the shoulder is raised.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a condition in which the tissues around the shoulder joint stiffen, scar tissue forms, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful. It can develop when you stop using the joint normally because of pain, other injury, or a chronic health condition, such as diabetes. Any shoulder problem can lead to frozen shoulder if you do not work to maintain its full range of motion.

Separated Shoulder

A shoulder separation (acromioclavicular joint injury) occurs when the outer end of the collarbone separates from the end of the shoulder blade because of torn ligaments. This injury occurs most often from a blow to the shoulder or a fall on a shoulder or outstretched hand or arm.

Dr. Burger discusses separated shoulders:


Dislocated Shoulder

A shoulder dislocation (shoulder instability) occurs when the upper end of the arm bone pops out of the shoulder joint. This injury may be caused by a direct blow to the shoulder, a fall on an outstretched hand or arm, or an exaggerated overhead throwing motion.


Shoulder Replacement Surgery

For more information on shoulder replacement surgery, Click Here!