The Ohio State Sports Medicine team evaluates and treats a broad range of orthopedic
shoulder and elbow injuries. These injuries occur in the young and the elderly, as well as in people with active or sedentary lifestyles. And traumatic shoulder injury can often lead to arthritis in the long term and other short term issues with the rotator cuff and labrum (cartilage in the shoulder). Throwers, commonly referred to as throwing athletes or upper extremity athletes, can have unique and complex problems involving the shoulder and elbow. In addition to the problematic joint, it is critically important to treat the entire athlete – including hip
, trunk, back and core muscle groups.
The majority of shoulder and elbow injuries respond to a nonsurgical approach, such as anti-inflammatory medications, icing, rest, physical therapy, a sling or brace. If matters worsen, surgery might be a solution to consider. The recovery period for a shoulder injury after surgery ranges from three to six months.
Diagnosis of Shoulder Injuries
A thorough physical exam, X-rays, presence of symptoms (including pain with and without movement, inflammation, stiffness, weakness and restricted ability) and history review are the basis for determining the source of your shoulder pain. An MRI provides a detailed, high-resolution image of your bones, joints and surrounding soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments and muscles. It helps us understand how extensive the damage or abnormality is and if surgery is potentially required. CT scans are taken to better understand your specific bone condition and are used for preoperative review by your surgeon.
Shoulder Conditions We Treat
- Shoulder instability is a result of the joint being out of position, whether from trauma or overuse. Associated symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include pain that worsens when raising the arm, stiffness, lack of strength and mobility in the shoulder area and the sensation that the shoulder is slipping out of place.
- Rotator cuff tears often occur slowly from shoulder misuse or general overuse over months or years, whether from sports, jobs with repeated overhead motion, or daily activities. The repetitive force against the tendon is to blame and the aging process factors in as well.
- Bicep and labral tears such as the superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP tear) and biceps tendon tear are when the tendons that attach muscles to bones become torn, whether acutely, or slowly with repetitive use.
- Shoulder impingement occurs when the bone on top of the shoulder impinges on the rotator cuff with overhead arm movement, causing pain and irritation.
- Fractures of the shoulder, scapula, acromion, clavicle and tuberosity can happen in young patients as a result of high-energy trauma, while others can have shoulder fractures from ground-level falls.
- Clavicle Collarbone Fractures are very common at all ages from falls onto the shoulder or onto an outstretched arm that puts undue pressure on the collarbone, although they are most common in young patients.
- Tendinosis of the shoulder or elbow results when there isn’t appropriate rehabilitation after an injury or when an overuse injury simply fails to heal properly.
- Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa – the fluid-filled cushion between bone and muscle or tendon. This condition creates pain and swelling and is a result of injury to or overuse of a joint.
- Shoulder Arthritis is a slow progressing problem, generally from previous bony fracture, dislocation or heavy blow to the shoulder that results in an abnormal wearing down of the cartilage. Treatment focuses on reduction of inflammation, physical therapy for strengthening and to preserve motion and avoidance of activities to prevent further wear and arthritic flare-ups.
- Failed Shoulder Replacement from occasional mechanical failure, soft tissue failure, fracture or ongoing pain after a replacement is often a complex problem that requires a systematic approach to treatment. It may include specialized testing such as CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound imaging, blood tests and joint fluid samples.