The shoulder is a complex joint with many working parts, so there is a lot that can go wrong. Dr. Peter Candelora with Coastal Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in New Port Richey, Florida, specializes in managing joint pain. He works with his patients to understand what has gone wrong in their shoulder and creates an action plan to repair the damage. For most people, that will mean a combination of treatment options including pain management, rehabilitation, and surgery when necessary. To eliminate your shoulder pain, call Coastal Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, or use their easy online scheduler.
A joint is a mechanical structure that allows movement, but there different kinds of joints. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. There is a "ball" section on the end of arm bone that connects to a socket built into the shoulder blade. The fluid movement of the ball in the socket is what allows you to rotate your arm in any direction.
Inside the socket portion of the joint is a layer of cushioning cartilage that prevents the two bony structures from rubbing against one another. Wrapped around both the ball and socket, is a thick group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the joint keeping the ball inside the socket.
Damage to any one of the structures that allow the shoulder to move can lead to shoulder pain. Some of the more serious shoulder conditions that Dr. Candelora sees include:
Of course, there are other problems that can occur with the shoulder such as:
As a joint, the shoulder is also a target for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Candelora does a full assessment of the joint along with imaging and other tests to make a diagnosis and create a care plan that starts with pain management.
It's one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. An impingement means the front section of the shoulder blade is rubbing against the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is the band of muscle and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. When the cuff becomes weak, the joint destabilizes allowing the bone of the upper arm to lift up and pinch the rotator cuff by pressing it against the shoulder blade.
Once diagnosed, Dr. Candelora may start with a conservative treatment plan that includes immobilization and physical therapy. If that fails to provide relief, it might be necessary to schedule arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury and stabilize the shoulder joint.
It's up to Dr. Candelora to decide on the right treatment plan based on the scope of the injury. It's safe to say that minor acute problems respond well to conservative treatments, but surgery is a possibility for chronic pain or more serious traumatic injuries to the joint.