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Common Injuries of the Shoulder
The shoulder is one of the most important parts of our body, as we rely on it to carry out many activities. It is made up of several joints that are connected to tendons and muscles. Since the shoulder has a wide range of motion, it is the most flexible and mobile joint in the body; However, this makes it very unstable and can be easily injured. Shoulder injuries can be caused by athletic activities, like throwing and weightlifting, as well as everyday activities such as gardening and pushing a lawn mower. There are a variety of shoulder injuries and understanding them is important in helping keep your shoulder healthy and pain-free.
One common injury of the shoulder is: dislocation. Dislocation happens when the ball in the upper arm comes out of the socket and can be caused by a hard pull or twist on the shoulder. Shoulder dislocations can be partial, with the ball only partially coming out, or complete, with the ball popping out entirely. If your shoulder is dislocated once, it can occur repeatedly because the ligaments, tendons, and muscles become loose. Recurring dislocations can cause pain when you lift or move your arm.
Another common injury is shoulder separation, which occurs when ligaments between the shoulder blade and collarbone are torn. This can happen when you fall with an outstretched hand or suffer a hard blow to the shoulder. Often, a bump forms on the top of the shoulder and causes severe pain and decreased shoulder movement.
Rotator cuff injuries are another common injury to the shoulder. Tendinitis in the rotator cuff occurs when tendons become inflamed from being pinched by surrounding shoulder parts. Bursitis happens when the bursa – a tiny, fluid-filled sac – becomes inflamed. Both Bursitis and Tendinitis can occur from overusing the shoulder and make any shoulder movements extremely painful. Aging, long-term wear and tear, or sudden injury can even lead to tears in rotator cuff tendons. Torn rotator cuffs can lead to tenderness and soreness in the shoulder. If your tendon is completely ruptured, you won’t even be able to move your arm at all.
Shoulder pain can also result from arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of Arthritis, happens from wear and tear of the shoulder cartilage. It usually develops slowly over time and causes swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Fractures are also another common injury in shoulders and usually occur on the collarbone, shoulder blade, and humerus (upper arm bone). Fractures often occur from a blow to the shoulder or a fall and can lead to pain, swelling, and bruising of the shoulder.
To prevent these injuries, you can catch symptoms beforehand and see a physical therapist. Some symptoms would include a popping sound in your shoulder from movement. If you feel as though your shoulder is slipping or moving during activity, you should see a physical therapist immediately. Physical therapists play an important role in preventing injuries like these to the shoulder. There are certain protocols for physical therapists to go through on strengthening the muscles and tendons in the shoulder.
Shoulder injuries are very common and can happen to anyone doing any type of activity that involves the shoulder. If you are feeling intense and severe pain in your shoulder, you should seek out medical attention immediately. For less severe pain, it is best to rest your shoulder for a few days and if the symptoms linger, you should see a doctor.
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