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Dr. Daniel C. Eby

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine

Torn Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and their related muscles that keep the shoulder and upper arm bone securely placed in the socket of the shoulder. The rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder joint and helps you to raise and move your arms.

Bone spurs, repetitive activities or trauma cause damage to the rotator cuff. Over time or with an injury, the rotator cuff breaks down and can tear. Inflammatory conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis can contribute.

The type of tear in your shoulder will determine what treatment you will need. There are partial tears and full-thickness tears. There are tears that can affect a single tendon or multiple tendons. All tears progress with time and continued use of your shoulder. For example, a partial tear will progress to a full-thickness tear due to repetitive use, bone spurs, or other injuries. Another example is one tendon that is torn can eventually affect the other tendons within the rotator cuff.

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Shoulder Impingement

There can be a number of reasons contributing to the pain in your shoulder. There are three bones, four tendons, four muscles, and many other soft tissues that contribute to our shoulder joint.

When one or more of these structures are improperly aligned, they can press and injure other structures. Inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, or arthritis can be involved with shoulder impingement. Progression of the shoulder impingement can lead to further injury such as rotator cuff tears.

Oftentimes, the rotator cuff becomes inflamed from overuse or damage from a bone spur. The fluid-filled cushion called a bursa becomes inflamed. As the space narrows, the rotator cuff will be damaged causing irritation and pain when you raise your arm.

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Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, which is also known as adhesive capsulitis, is an inflammatory condition.  The disorder developed when the tissues around the shoulder joint stiffen, and scar tissue forms.

The scar tissue prevents proper motion and causes painful movements. It can develop when you stop using your shoulder because of pain, other injuries, or a chronic health condition, such as diabetes.

Frozen shoulder can result from not moving your shoulder for a prolonged period.

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Separated Shoulder

Did you fall onto your shoulder or with your hand to catch yourself? Do you have sharp pain over the collar bone near your shoulder?

A shoulder separation occurs when the outer end of the collarbone separates from the end of the shoulder blade because of torn ligaments. This injury occurs most often from a blow to the shoulder or a fall on a shoulder or outstretched hand or arm.

Risk Factors

  • Trauma to your shoulder
  • Falling on your outstretched hand
  • Collision sports, such as football

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Dislocated Shoulder

A shoulder dislocation (shoulder instability) occurs when the upper end of the arm bone pops out of the shoulder joint. This injury may be caused by a direct blow to the shoulder, a fall on an outstretched hand or arm, or an exaggerated overhead throwing motion.

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