When the shoulder is injured, inflammation occurs causing pain and weakness in the shoulder. This can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Shoulder Impingement, Tendonitis and Bursitis are two common conditions that can cause pain and discomfort.
In order to understand shoulder pain and injury, it is important to learn about the anatomy of this joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The head of the humerus fits into the glenoid (a rounded socket in the scapula). These bones are held in place by muscles, tendons and ligaments. The ligaments hold the bones together and create stability, while the tendons connect the muscles to the bones and the muscles make movement possible.
Three common shoulder conditions are: shoulder impingement, tendonitis and bursitis. Shoulder impingement occurs when the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows and the acromion rubs on the tendon or bursa. This results in pain and irritation. Tendonitis occurs when the rotator cuff tendons and/or the bursa become irritated and inflamed and bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed and swollen with fluid. It is common for these conditions to occur in conjunction with one another since they are adjacent structures.
Symptoms of shoulder bursitis, tendonitis and impingement include:
- Pain while performing an activity and at rest
- Pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
- Pain with throwing
- Pain with overhead motion
- Sudden pain when lifting/reaching
Shoulder bursitis, tendonitis and impingement are often caused by overuse and improper lifting techniques. To help prevent these common shoulder injuries, follow these helpful tips:
- Exercise regularly and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder joint
- Focus on upper body strength and flexibility
- When lifting and reaching overhead, pay attention to the position and form of your back
- When lifting, keep back as straight as possible, bend and lift with your legs
- When reaching to place or retrieve heavy objects, use a stable platform or stool
- Know when to say when – when you are tired and fatigued; take a break!
Depending on the severity of the injury, shoulder impingement or bursitis can be treated non-surgically through rest, cortisone injections and physical therapy. In some cases surgery may be required. If surgery is indicated, minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery to is the best method to repair the injury, followed by a rehabilitation program to get you back to full activity as quickly as possible. For more information or to schedule and appointment with John Vitolo, MD, please call 973-300-1553 or visit advocareorthosportsmed.com