If you are an athlete or someone who participates in recreational sports, then there is a good chance you will sustain an arm or shoulder injury at some point. These injuries can be quite painful and debilitating. We will discuss the most common shoulder injuries, their symptoms, and how to treat them.

Rotator Cuff Tears

To understand what a rotator cuff tear is, we first need to understand the rotator cuff. A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons help lift your arm. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of these muscles and tendons are torn. This can happen due to an acute injury, such as a fall, or from repetitive use over time.

Signs You Have a Rotator Cuff Tear

  • Dull, aching shoulder pain
  • Shoulder pain that increases with activity
  • Trouble sleeping on the affected shoulder
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Joint clicking or popping

If you suspect you have a rotator cuff tear, it is important to see a doctor right away. They will likely order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for a rotator cuff tear may include rest, ice, and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

SLAP Tears

A SLAP tear is a specific type of labral tear. SLAP stands for Superior Labral tear from Anterior to Posterior. The shoulder joint is held together by ligaments, which are strong bands of tissue that attach bones to each other. 

The superior labrum is the top part of a ring of cartilage that sits around the shoulder socket (glenoid) and helps hold the shoulder in place and is the anchoring point for the long head of the biceps tendon. A SLAP tear occurs when this cartilage is torn. This can happen due to an acute injury or from repetitive use over time.

Signs You Have a SLAP Tear

  • A popping or locking sensation in the shoulder
  • Certain movements cause pain
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Joint instability
  • Difficulty throwing

Shoulder Dislocation and Chronic Instability

Shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball of the shoulder joint pops out of its socket. This can happen due to an acute injury, such as a fall, or chronic shoulder instability. Chronic shoulder instability occurs when the shoulder joint is not stable and pops out of place frequently. This usually occurs because acute shoulder instability is ignored and recurs.

What is Shoulder Instability?

Shoulder instability refers to the looseness in the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is held together by ligaments. When these ligaments are stretched or torn, it can cause the shoulder joint to become loose and unstable.

Signs To Watch For

  • Shoulder weakness
  • Joint instability or looseness
  • Unusual heaviness in the arm

How The Orthopedic Partners, an RCM Clinic Can Help

Dr. Hatch specializes in the treatment of shoulder injuries. He offers a variety of treatments, including physical therapy, injections, and surgery. He also offers shoulder replacement surgery. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a shoulder injury, please contact him today to schedule an appointment. He would be more than happy to help you get back to your normal life as soon as possible!