Gradual onset shoulder pain

Chronic shoulder pain, which comes on gradually over time can be due to different causes. The patient is unlikely to be able to pin point the exact time the injury occurred. Chronic pain in the shoulder can also develop following an acute or sudden onset shoulder injury, which fails to heal properly.

An arthritic joint can have gradual onset of pain as well as tendonopathies from repetitive strain or overload, impingement or painful arc syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, and bone or cartilage damage. Injuries and conditions that cause this symptom are listed below:
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

    Shoulder Impingement

    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.

  • Glenoid Labrum Tear

    Glenoid Labrum Tear

    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.

  • Frozen Shoulder

    Frozen Shoulder

    Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for frozen shoulder which is a condition causing pain and restricted movement in the shoulder joint.

  • Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula

    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.

  • Shoulder Tendonitis

    Shoulder Tendonitis

    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

    Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendinopathy is a degenerative condition affecting of one or more of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder.

  • Subacromial Bursitis

    Subacromial Bursitis

    Subacromial bursitis has similar symptoms to Supraspinatus tendinitis with shoulder pain over a 60 degree arc when the arm is lifted sideways.

  • Supraspinatus Inflammation

    Supraspinatus Inflammation

    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.

  • Subscapularis Inflammation

    Subscapularis Inflammation

    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.

  • Pec Major Tendon Inflammation

    Pec Major - inflammation

    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.

  • Referred Shoulder Pain

    Referred Shoulder Pain

    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.

  • Long Head of Biceps Inflammation

    Long Head Biceps Inflammation

    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.

  • Suprascapular Neuropathy

    Suprascapular Neuropathy

    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.

  • Proximal Humerus Growth Plate Fracture

    Proximal Humerus - Fracture

    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.

  • Clavicle Muscle Attachments Inflammation

    Clavicle Attachments Inflammation

    The Clavicle or collar bone has a number of muscle attachments along its length. These can become painful and inflamed.

  • Shoulder Subluxation

    Shoulder Subluxation

    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.

  • Shoulder Pain

    Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain or disability has been felt for. If you are not sure what your injury is why not check out our shoulder pain symptom checker! 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. A chronic shoulder injury may come on gradually over time.

  • Chronic Shoulder Injuries

    Gradual onset shoulder pain or chronic shoulder pain may come on over a period of time. The athlete may not have known the exact time of injury which could have been niggling away for a while as they train through it. Due to the complexity of the shoulder joint there are some injuries which may appear to have happened suddenly but also may develop gradually over time. A chronic shoulder injury may also be acutely painful.