How do you know you have shoulder injuries? The most obvious sign is pain. Just like any other injury, if you are experiencing pain in shoulder you should consider the fact that you may have a shoulder injury. While pain can be a hallmark of shoulder injury, there are instances where injury is present without pain, particularly in chronic cases. Other signs and symptoms of shoulder injury include, but not limited to:
- Stiffness. Is your shoulder stiff? Can you rotate your arm in all the normal positions?
- Laxity. Does it feel like your shoulder could pop out or slide out of the socket?
- Weakness. Do you lack the strength in your shoulder to carry out your daily activities?
- Persistent tingling or numbness in your upper limb
About the shoulder
The shoulder is a complex structure and has more than one joint. Like other joints in your body your shoulder is made up of cartilages, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, fluid and other tissues all arranged in alignment to give the complex movement and activities that it produces.
Shoulder injury can be due to damage to one or more of these structures. However, most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. In other words, most shoulder injuries are soft tissue injuries.
Who gets shoulder injuries?
Who gets shoulder injuries? The short answer is ANYONE but mostly athletes who do sports that require repetitive, intensive training routines. They can come on abruptly or can develop slowly. In either case it is best you do not ignore the injury because doing so can lead to more serious injury. Whatever the cause orthopaedic surgeons group shoulder problems into two major categories – Instability and Impingement injuries:
- Instability – this is when the shoulder joint moves or is forced out or its normal position. This can
- result in dislocation of one of the joints in the shoulder. You may feel like your shoulder is slipping out of place.
Impingement – this is caused by excessive rubbing of the muscles against the top part of the shoulder blade, called the acromion, and tend to occur from activities that require excessive overhead arm motion. So, what are the commonest shoulder injuries? In no order:
Factor Cuff injuries – Everyone knows someone who has a rotator cuff injury, or at least knows someone who knows someone that has. As a result, we have become quite familiar with the most common feature: it is hard to move your arm up or away from your body.
Pain is common when these movements are attempted. The tendons of the rotator cuff muscles degenerate and weaken with age and can tear.
Treatment depends on severity. For incomplete tears the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is usually used. Pain killers, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are also used for the pain. More severe injuries may warrant surgical intervention.
Dislocations – happen mostly in young people and athletes.
After certain activities or trauma the muscles and tendons of the shoulder get stretched beyond their normal limits.
When the ligaments holding the shoulder muscles to the bones tear the shoulder becomes dislocated.