The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that enables a great deal of upper extremity mobility. There are several soft tissues that support and stabilize the shoulder, which include the rotator cuff and the shoulder labrum. These soft tissues can easily be injured due to overuse while participating in ‘throwing’ sports or with repeated overhead arm movements. Failure to seek medical care for shoulder injuries can lead to significant shoulder problems in the future.
The rotator cuff consists muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and keep the upper arm firmly in place. Injury to the rotator cuff usually manifests as a dull ache that gets worse when sleeping on the injured side. Untreated chronic inflammation due to a partially torn rotator cuff tendon could lead to a full-thickness tear and eventually progress to shoulder arthritis at which point you may not be able to raise your arm overhead due to shoulder weakness and pain.
The shoulder labrum is a rim of cartilaginous tissue that surrounds and deepens the shoulder socket providing stability to the joint. A tear of the shoulder labrum could mean that the end of the upper arm bone can easily slip out of the shoulder socket during routine activities. An unstable shoulder joint will wear out eventually.
Seek medical care for persistent shoulder pain, weakness, or shoulder instability as soon as possible. Most shoulder injuries can be treated with conservative treatments such as physical therapy. However, in situations where structural damage has occurred due to the shoulder injury, surgery may be the right choice to regain shoulder function and strength.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders. Book your appointment with Dr. Patel today: (630) 929-2249.