Common Shoulder Injuries and How to Treat Them

Your shoulders are joints that form when your upper-arm bones (humerus), shoulder blades (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle) meet. Routine activities, trauma, or sports can cause overuse of the joint. This can increase your risk of shoulder injuries. Though these are common, it is important that they are diagnosed early and treated accordingly. Dr. Stephen Fisher, MD, is a renowned orthopedic surgeon who masters the skill of treating orthopedic injuries and abnormalities. 

What is shoulder pain?

The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, with an extensive range of motion (ROM) in the human body. Shoulder pain is a common symptom arising from any shoulder injury. Some injuries could be work, or sports-related, while others can occur suddenly during any accident or trauma. It is believed that arthritis (joint inflammation due to degeneration) could also predispose you to shoulder injuries. 

What are the common shoulder injuries?

Common shoulder injuries include:

  • Shoulder dislocation and instability
  • Rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons in the joint) tears
  • Labral (a type of cartilage) tears
  • Shoulder arthritis
  • Humeral (a large bone between the shoulder and elbow) head fractures
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Pectoralis major (largest muscle in the chest wall) rupture
  • Proximal biceps tendon rupture

How can shoulder injuries be treated?

Shoulder injuries cause pain and can also lead to compromised joint function. These acute injuries, if left untreated, may increase the probability of becoming chronic in nature. Such injuries can eventually cause permanent instability. 

Treatment should involve joint stabilization, adequate healing, and improvement in the symptoms like pain and stiffness. Treatment includes the following:

  • Non-surgical approach: For mild injuries
    • Adequate rest to the joint
    • Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Minimally-invasive therapy like steroid injections
    • Physiotherapy 
    • Therapy developed from natural substances, known as orthobiologics
    • Immobilization with a brace or sling
  • Surgical approach: For severe injuries that do not respond to conservative methods. These include:
    • Shoulder arthroscopy- Surgery using a special device called an arthroscope. 
    • Rotator cuff repair-  Surgery to repair a torn tendon in the shoulder
    • Superior capsular reconstruction- Procedure to repair severe rotator cuff tears.
    • Shoulder labral repair-Reattachment of the labrum to the bone using plastic anchors. 
    • Joint replacement- The damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint.
    • Shoulder impingement surgery- It is a type of decompression surgery.
    • Cartilage repair or transplantation- Healthy cartilage cells are harvested from the body and transplanted in the area of damaged cartilage.
    • Tendon and fracture repairs- Repairs involve stitching or reattaching damaged parts. 


Shoulder injuries are considered to be common that occur due to overuse of the joint or trauma. It leads to severe pain, and joint instability and if left untreated can cause permanent loss of function. However, they can be effectively treated through non-surgical and surgical methods. 

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