Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder impingement/bursitis

"Squashing" or pinching of the rotator cuff tendons/bursa (a sac of fluid) as the shoulder is moved particularly with repeated overhead activities. 

Impingement is often felt on the lateral aspect of the arm and is often caused by poor posture or muscle imbalances. 

Treatment involves correcting muscular imbalances and retraining the shoulder to allow more space for the affected tendons/bursa. Very common with tennis players or overhead throwers but also patients that reach or lift over shoulder height as part of their daily jobs.

Rotator cuff muscle strain

Usually a result of a direct injury to the shoulder e.g. a fall or awkwardly lifting a heavy object. Patients will often report immediate pain and sometimes weakness.

Depending on the severity these strains can last 1-2 weeks or a grade 3 injury may require surgical intervention. Treatment for grade 1-2 strains will focus on pain relief and gradual strengthening of the injured shoulder.

Frozen shoulder

Shoulder stiffness which is common after trauma to the shoulder joint either through surgery, a fracture or even just a fall with minimal immediate consequence. A frozen shoulder usually occurs in people between the ages of 40-60 or those with diabetes. Patients often complain of pain or excessive stiffness in the shoulder joint in most if not all directions. 

Treatment consists of soft tissue massage, muscle training and strengthening and mobilising the shoulder joint.

Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability usually occurs after trauma to the shoulder, for example a shoulder dislocation. Patients usually report that their shoulder feels like it “pops out” or they have a “dead arm” feeling. Patients also complain of a pinching feeling in the shoulder when they lift there arm. 

Treatment consists of treating muscle imbalances through strengthening the muscles around the shoulder capsule and also helping to alleviate associated pain with massage, electrical modalities and taping.