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Common Conditions Related to Shoulder Pain or Dysfunction

Close up of woman's shoulder and arm

What is shoulder trauma?

Shoulder trauma can be caused from a fall onto an outstretched hand (a.k.a. FOOSH), motor vehicle accident, sport injury, work related accident, or a mishap during a typical daily activity. The trauma can result in a fracture to the humerus, scapula, and/or clavicle and cause significant pain, bruising, swelling, and/or numbness. A CityPT physical therapist can help to triage your injury and determine if an x-ray is advised. With appropriate healing times considered for muscle, tendon, and bone, one of our physical therapists can safely guide you through recovery and return to normal performance of your daily activities.

What is a rotator cuff tear (RCT)?

A rotator cuff tear is an injury to one or more of the four rotator cuff muscles/tendons. Our shoulders are the most mobile joints in our bodies, so a balance of flexibility and strength are key to optimal positioning of the scapulae (shoulder blade) and humerus (arm bone) during overhead activities. Injuries can be caused by trauma, poor posture, or chronic overuse. There is strong evidence to support physical therapy prior to consideration of surgical intervention to strengthen shoulder musculature, improve mobility, and correct alignment to reduce pain and allow for optimal function. Recent studies show that physical therapy for partial and full thickness rotator cuff tears results in high patient satisfaction and success in avoiding surgery which reduces time missed from work and daily life.

What is acromioclavicular (AC joint) dislocation/sprain?

Acromioclavicular dislocation/sprain may result from a fall on the acromion (front tip of the shoulder), falling on an outstretched hand (FOOSH), injury from contact sports, trauma from a bicycle or motor vehicle accident, or from chronic overuse. Injury can result in full or partial separation of the collar bone from the acromion, spraining the ligament between the bony structures. CityPT physical therapists can assist with rehabilitation of AC joint injuries whether or not surgery is required. Proper mechanics with overhead work, form with sports, and general shoulder strength/mobility are all important pieces of a successful plan of care your therapist can help with to get you back to your optimal performance.

What is shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement is chronic compression between the rotator cuff tendons, humerus (arm bone), bursa, and/or ligaments. Causes include poor posture, overuse, and/or improper body mechanics with repeated movements. Our shoulders are the most mobile joints in our bodies, so a balance of flexibility and strength are key to optimal positioning of the scapulae (shoulder blade) and humerus (arm bone) during overhead activities. Impingement can be reduced by seeking assistance from a CityPT physical therapist to help determine the causes of your symptoms. We wil work with you to optimize your mechanics thus reducing this compression. Your treatment is tailored to your needs based on your condition, allowing you to return to work, daily life and sport participation.

What is shoulder tendonitis?

Rotator cuff tendonitis is irritation of a tendon (where the muscle connects to the bone) caused from abnormal posture, poor body mechanics, overuse, and/or prior trauma. This is more common in individuals with jobs, sports, or hobbies that require repeated overhead positions. Over time if the cause of the tendon irritation is not addressed the condition becomes known as tendinopathy/tendinosis as parts of the tendon structure are affected. A CityPT physical therapist can help find the cause of the tendon irritation, reduce pain, improve strength, and increase range of motion to improve your ability to participate in daily activities, sport and work.

What is frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder (a.k.a. adhesive capsulitis) describes a specific inflammatory condition within the shoulder joint capsule which surrounds the shoulder joint. This can result in a combination of pain and loss of motion in the arm. The cause is unknown, but often affects individuals with diabetes and those between the ages of 40 and 65. There are various stages within the healing process of a frozen shoulder which are treated differently. By listening to your current condition and goals a physical therapist at CityPT can guide you in appropriate treatment to reduce pain levels and improve mobility safely.