Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain / disability has been felt for. If you are not sure what your injury is why not check out our symptom checker! Or use the links below to view specific shoulder injuries. An acute shoulder injury occurs suddenly either through direct impact, over stretching a muscle, tendon or ligament, overusing a muscle or tendon or twisting of the shoulder joint. The top five most common categories of shoulder injury are listed below.
A rotator cuff strain is a tear to any of the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder and is common in throwing and racket sports. They are so called because their job is to rotate the arm at the shoulder and provide a supportive cuff around the joint. Rotator cuff tears can range from mild to severe.
The glenoid labrum is a fibrous ring of tissue which attaches to the rim of the glenoid shallow hole or socket of the shoulder blade where the ball of the humerus or arm bone sits.
A dislocated shoulder is a traumatic and painful injury often caused in contact sports or from a fall.
An AC joint separation or AC joint sprain is an injury to the ligament that holds the acromioclavicular joint together at the top of the shoulder. It is usually caused by fall onto an outstretched arm.
Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for frozen shoulder which is a condition causing pain and restricted movement in the shoulder joint.
Impingement syndrome is sometimes called swimmer’s shoulder or thrower’s shoulder and is caused by the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming impinged as they pass through the shoulder joint.
A winged scapula is a symptom of another condition, rather than an injury itself. It is where the shoulder blade protrudes out on the back, rather than laying flat against the back of the chest wall.
An injured Deltoid muscle can cause pain at the front, side or back of the shoulder.
A bruised collarbone is also known as a clavicle contusion and occurs after a direct impact to the collar bone at the front of the shoulder or chest.
Shoulder subluxation or shoulder instability occurs when the shoulder partially dislocates. The shoulder joint by its nature allows a large range of movement which means it is likely to be less stable.
A growth plate fracture or epiphysis plate fracture occurs at the end of a bone in children before the bone has fully turned from cartilage to hard bone. A proximal humerus fracture occurs in the upper arm, near the shoulder.
The Clavicle or collar bone has a number of muscle attachments along its length. These can become painful and inflamed.
The subscapularis is a very powerful muscle that rotates the arm inwards and is part of the rotator cuff group of muscles. It is often injured by throwers and can be stubborn to treat.
Shoulder Tendonitis or Tenosynovitis is a degenerative condition of any of the tendons surrounding the shoulder joint usually the rotator cuff tendons but can also occur in the biceps and triceps tendons.
Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendinopathy is a degenerative condition affecting of one or more of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder.
The biceps muscle splits into two tendons at the shoulder. The long tendon runs over the top of the upper arm and attaches to the top of the shoulder blade.
A posterior shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus moves backwards out of the socket. This is a rare shoulder injury as most shoulder dislocations are anterior.
The biceps muscle splits into two tendons at the shoulder.The long tendon runs over the top of the humerus bone and can suffer a partial rupture causing pain at the front of the shoulder.
A shoulder sprain is damage to the shoulder ligaments or capsule which support the glenohumeral or shoulder joint. This may be stretching of the fibers or partial to full tears of the ligaments or joint capsule.
Suprascapular neuropathy usually occurs as a result of traction damage to the suprascapular nerve causing an aching or burning pain at the back and or side of the shoulder joint.
The pectoralis major muscle is a large powerful muscle at the front of the chest. It used to rotate the arm inwards. Its weak point is at the tendon where it attaches to the arm bone.
A fractured neck of the humerus is often caused by falling onto an outstretched hand or a direct impact to the shoulder. It is seen more often in young adults, adolescents and the elderly.
The supraspinatus muscle runs along the top of the shoulder blade and inserts at the top of the arm or humerus bone and is one of the four rotator cuff muscles.
The Pectoralis Major tendon is weakest where it inserts into the arm or humerus bone and can become inflamed. It is common in racket players, rowers, swimmers, throwers and weight trainers.
The supraspinatus muscle runs along the top of the shoulder blade and inserts via the tendon at the top of the arm or humerus bone. It is one of the rotator cuff muscles.
Pain in the shoulder can be referred or caused by a problem in another area of the body such as the neck or spine. Pressure on nerves from various causes can result in pain being transmitted into the shoulder.
Subacromial bursitis has similar symptoms to Supraspinatus tendinitis with shoulder pain over a 60 degree arc when the arm is lifted sideways.
A scapula fracture is a break in the shoulder blade bone at the back of the shoulder. This is a relatively uncommon injury, making up only 1% of all fractures.
A clavicle fracture or broken collar bone as it is also known is a fracture of the clavicle bone which runs along the front of the shoulder to the breast bone or sternum in the middle of the chest.
A deltoid contusion is a bruise in the deltoid muscle which is situated on the side of the shoulder. This occurs after a direct impact to the muscle, usually from a hard, blunt object such as a hard ball or an opponents elbow!
In order to thoroughly assess any injury, a sound knowledge of the anatomy of the area is required. This enables localised pain to be related to the surrounding structures and muscle injuries to be suspected from painful movements.