Stiffness or restricted movement in the shoulder joint can also have pain present. Pain with a stiff shoulder can be from an adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), a labral tear, bone surface damage, creating an osteochondral defect (OCD), loose bodies, muscle tightness, strains or tears and ligament damage.

Arthritic shoulders are associated with stiffness and can be combined with pain. Also impingement issues or biomechanical problems may cause some stiffness and it may also becomes stiff when protecting the joint through inhibition of the muscles. Other injuries with this symptom are listed below:
  • Rotator Cuff Tear

    Rotator Cuff Tear

    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. This shoulder injury can range from mild to severe and may be caused by activity in sports involving throwing and/or degeneration due to overuse.

  • 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. When this tissue tears, it creates general shoulder pain and weakness in the joint. This shoulder injury is often caused by repetitive movemment such as overhead throwing, so resting from these activities will help to ease the pain.

  • Dislocated Shoulder

    Dislocated Shoulder

    A dislocated shoulder is a traumatic and painful injury often caused by contact sports or from a fall. This shoulder injury can do further damage to the area surrounding the joint so it is important to seek medical advice immediately. A dislocated shoulder can be recurring, so we also identify some rehabilitation exercises that can help you recover from the injury and try to prevent it happening again.

  • 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. It is normally only seen in older people, with no specific cause. The shoulder will feel tight and stiff but with treatment, the pain will gradually ease to allow movement. Getting treatment as soon as possible will help prevent the injury from becoming too severe.

  • 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, and this can be painful. It can be linked to poor posture, which is quite common with many people sitting at desks all day! Read more for treatments and exercises to help ease and prevent this shoulder pain.

  • Shoulder Tendonitis

    Shoulder Tendonitis

    Shoulder Tendonitis or Tenosynovitis is a degenerative condition of any of the tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. This is usually the rotator cuff tendons but it can also occur in the biceps and triceps tendons. The shoulder pain usually comes on gradually and is due to repetitive movements and overuse. It is common in those with poor posture and those who use the joint a lot, like athletes who throw and manual workers.

  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendinopathy is a degenerative condition affecting one or more of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder. The shoulder pain can be present when resting and be exacerbated by lifting and moving the arm above the shoulder. The affected tendon will probably feel tender and treatment can help relieve these immediate symptoms. We also explain exercises that can be performed, once pain has gone, to help prevent the injury recurring.

  • Supraspinatus Inflammation

    Supraspinatus Inflammation

    The supraspinatus muscle is one of the rotator cuff muscles which runs along the top of the shoulder blade and inserts via the tendon at the top of the arm or humerus bone. The supraspinatus tendon can become inflamed from overuse which makes it feel painful and weak, especially when moving the arm and shoulder sideways. Read more on the symptoms and treatment here.

  • 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. When the subscapularis is inflamed it will be painful to move the shoulder and the tendon in the inner upper arm will be tender to touch. The subscapularis is often injured by throwers and can be stubborn to treat. Read more on how to treat this injury below.

  • Pec Major Tendon Inflammation

    Pec Major - inflammation

    The Pectoralis Major tendon is weakest where it inserts into the arm, or humerus bone. Common sports that can inflame the tendon include racket sports, rowing, swimming and weight training, and the pain when performing these activites will probably have increased over a period of time. Resting from these sports is essential to recovering form this shoulder injury. Read more on the symptoms and treatments below.

  • Clavicle Muscle Attachments Inflammation

    Clavicle Attachments Inflammation

    The Clavicle, or collarbone, has a number of muscle attachments along its length. The tendons that attach the muscles to the front of the shoulder and collarbone can become painful and inflamed through overuse. This injury is particularly found in athletes who do a lot of throwing, such as cricketers. Read more on the symptoms and the treatments of this injury below.

  • Supraspinatus Rupture

    Supraspinatus Rupture

    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. A supraspinatus rupture can occur from a fall and from activities like throwing, causing an immediate, sharp shoulder pain. The treatment needed to recover from this will depend on if the rupture is partial or full.

  • Fracture of the Neck of the Humerus

    Fracture Neck of the Humerus

    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. A sling will need to be worn to allow the fracture to heal, before commencing rehabilitation exercises. Read more on the treatment of this shoulder injury.

  • Shoulder Sprain

    Shoulder Sprain

    A shoulder sprain is damage to the shoulder ligaments or capsule which support the glenohumeral or shoulder joint. This is caused by a stretching of the fibers or partial to full tears of the ligaments or joint capsule, like if the arm is pulled backwards. The shoulder will feel painful and tender, often with swelling, which can be eased by rest and putting the arm in a sling.

  • Deltoid Contusion

    Deltoid Contusion

    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! Read more on the symptoms and treatment of this shoulder injury.

  • 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.

  • Acute Shoulder Injuries

    Sudden onset or acute shoulder injuries are ones which happen suddenly, often though a fall onto an outstretched arm or through direct impact or over stretching or overloading. Often the athlete will feel a sudden sharp pain with discomfort and or loss of mobility. Sometimes there will be swelling and inflammation. It is important acute shoulder injuries are treated as soon as possible with the PRICE princples of immediate first aid. Always seek medical advice if pain is severe or you are in any doubt.