The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the human body, which leaves it the most susceptible to injury. While many shoulder injuries occur in the athletic world, there are many which are a result of overuse in the professional world. Let’s take a look at what some of the most common types of shoulder injuries that humans experience, regardless of occupation.
For those who are unfamiliar, the tendon is a cord in the body that connects bone to muscle. When individuals experience tendinitis it’s a result of wearing down that cord, or tendon, slowly over time. There are two categories of this shoulder condition, acute and chronic. Acute tendinitis can be the result of doing overhead activities, such as throwing a ball overhand. Chronic tendinitis is when consistent wear and tear or a degenerative disease, such as arthritis, causes permanent damage to the tendon.
There are many tendons that lie within the shoulder as many muscles control the various movement patterns of it. The rotator cuff has four tendons that tend to be the most commonly torn tendons in the shoulder. There are also the bicep tendons for the long and short brachii muscles. While you may think of a tear as a complete split between the bone and the tendon, not all tendon tears have that result. Some tendon tears are partial, where only some of the tendon is torn from the bone. You can find out here how this type of injury can be treated with shoulder surgery.
Instability tends to be a shoulder injury that is more common on the athletic spectrum. This type of injury is typically a result of a sudden pressure on the upper arm bone. As a result, the ball of the upper arm bone is forced out of its shoulder socket. This can be a partial dislocation, called a subluxation, or a complete dislocation. Either instability will result in shoulder pain and limited or no range of motion.
This is probably the type of injury that you are most familiar with as it’s simply an easy concept to understand. A bone fracture happens when too much pressure is put on a segment of a bone causing the fracturing to occur. This can happen to the clavicle, scapula, and humerus bones within the shoulder. These injuries can happen as a result of a fall for those elderly individuals. For younger people, a fracture is more commonly the result of a vehicle accident or contact sport. All patients will experience severe swelling, pain, and bruising around the shoulder.
Shoulder injuries can range from a slight tear to a full-blown dislocation. Due to the high range of motion coupled with a ball and socket joint, the shoulder is highly susceptible to injury. It’s important to realize that not all injuries are a result of a sudden accident, as many can be due to overuse of the muscles over a long period of time.