Shoulder injuries are one of the most common reasons to seek out orthopedic care. The shoulder is a complex joint, and can involve fractures of bone or soft tissues injury. Younger patients with traumatic injuries can often injure the stabilizing structures, such as the ligaments, and labrum. As we mature, soft tissue pathology tends to involve the rotator cuff, and the bursa.
The rotator cuff is 4 muscles that live on the shoulder blade, and extend out towards the shoulder to stabilize the ball-and-socket joint. Often, a rotator cuff tear is the result of a fall or dislocation, however patients can develop slow degenerative tears that start asymptomatically and worsen over time. Like the rest of the body, all of the structures can be injured at different levels of severity, and require multiple different treatments. The first step is to start with a physical examination and history from the patient, to determine the appropriate course of treatment!