Types of Injuries
The shoulder is responsible for so many different movements in sports and training activities. As an incredibly mobile joint, the shoulder is also highly vulnerable to injury.
Most shoulder problems treated in athletes involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than bones. Shoulder injuries commonly seen include sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendonitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures, and arthritis. The Lendermon Sports Medicine team applies modern technology and therapy techniques to help injured ball players, cyclist, football players, and other athletes recover from shoulder injuries.
- Rotator Cuff Tears - The rotator cuffs job is to hold the top of the arm (humerus) to the shoulder (scapula). Rotator cuff muscles and tendons are frequently injured in throwing sports where repetitive overhead motions are used, or in tackling sports where arm impacts or falls are common. Rotator cuff tears are also commonly seen in older athletes experiencing loss of muscle and tendon tissue.
- Tendonitis - Shoulder tendonitis, also referred to as rotator cuff tendonitis or shoulder bursitis, is a condition of inflammation of the tendons that can have painful consequences. Simple inflammation can worsen to cause partial or complete tendon tears.
- Dislocation - A shoulder dislocation, when the arm bone pops out of its place in the socket, may result after a hard fall or a sudden overextension of the joint. Some athletes experience recurring shoulder dislocation, referred to as shoulder instability.
Don’t let an injury keep you on the bench. Schedule your Lendermon Sports Medicine appointment today.
- Dislocated Shoulder
A shoulder joint functions as a “ball and socket” joint, meaning the ball of the humerus bone (the arm bone) rests in the socket of the scapula (shoulder blade). A dislocated shoulder results when the arm bone detaches from the actual shoulder socket. Shoulder dislocations often occur as a result of a hard impact fall, tackle, or hip check. In an anterior dislocation, the ball of the humerus will be pushed in front of the shoulder blade. With a posterior dislocation, the ball of the humerus will be pushed behind the shoulder blade, although this type is extremely rare.
A shoulder joint functions as a “ball and socket” joint, meaning the ball of the humerus bone (the arm bone) rests in the socket of the scapula (shoulder blade). A frozen shoulder occurs when the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and contracts, gradually limiting movement.
Athletes with a frozen shoulder may experience:
- Restriction of shoulder motion
- Dull or aching pain
- Pain in the outer shoulder or upper arm
The condition of frozen shoulder is divided into stages which usually occur over a series of many months:
Stage 1 – Freezing stage, slow onset of pain and loss of motion
Stage 2 – Frozen stage, pain lessens, stiffness remains
Stage 3 – Thawing stage, shoulder range of motion is returned gradually
Athletes who are required to pitch or throw several hundred times during a practice or a game put a large amount of stress on their shoulders and elbows. Poor throwing technique is the primary cause of all throwing injuries, and simple overuse contributes to these types of injuries as well. Arm, shoulder, and elbow problems resulting from throwing are especially recognized in career pitchers who’ve been throwing for most of their lifetime.
The Lendermon Sports Medical Center treat baseball and softball players, track and field competitors, and football players who encounter throwing injuries like ulnar collateral ligament tears in the elbow and rotator cuff tears. A common condition known as “Little Leaguer’s Elbow” is diagnosed in young ballplayers suffering from ligament tears and inflammation of the growth plate which can lead to bone damage and deformity if left untreated. Another throwing injury called osteochondrosis is characterized by loosening of the bone and cartilage around the elbow.
Throwing athletes are also at risk for tendonitis, impingement syndrome, broken arm, broken hand or broken wrist, and labrum tears. Athletes participating in repetitive throwing motions may also experience overlapping conditions. It is recommended that a sports medicine physician be consulted regularly for examination and advice on avoidance of throwing injuries.
Athletes with a throwing injury may experience:
- Elbow sprain symptoms
- Progressive pain
- Pain on the inner area of the elbow
- Pain while throwing
- Inability to control pitches
- Locking of the elbow joint
- Shoulder pain
- Aching or discomfort
- Sharp pains
Rotator Cuff Disorder
The shoulder’s rotator cuff plays an important role in throwing movements, as in football, baseball, or softball, or racket sports like tennis. Comprised of a group of muscles and tendons, the rotator cuff allows for a large range of movement using the shoulder and also keeps the shoulder joint stable.
A rotator cuff injury can be as simple as tendonitis, an inflammation of the muscles, or a more serious problem involving a muscle tear. A rotator cuff tear is a partial or complete tear of one or more of the four muscles of the shoulder. Chronic rotator cuff disorders are seen in athletes who frequently use swift overhead motions, such as baseball or softball pitchers. Acute rotator cuff tears may be found in athletes who, for example, attempt to lessen a shoulder impact in a hard fall by raising an arm.
Athletes with a rotator cuff tear may experience:
- Pain when lifting or lowering the arm
- Atrophy of the shoulder muscles
- Arm weakness
- Crackling sensation during movement
- Intensifying pain at night
- Muscle spasm
- Shoulder tenderness