Rotator Cuff Strains and Tears

The Rotator Cuff comprises the group of muscles and tendons that encompass the shoulder joint, stabilizing and securing the placement of the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) within the socket of the shoulder. Rotator Cuff injuries most frequently happen due to age related degeneration, trauma, and poor posture. However, these types of injuries can also often occur in people who’s jobs or sports activities require repeated overhead motions, such as, painting, construction, tennis, baseball, etc. Symptoms can include a dull ache deep in the shoulder, pain when performing daily activities (like combing your hair or getting dressed), arm weakness, limited range of motion, pain when moving the arm in a specific direction, Crepitus or crackling sensation when moving the shoulder in certain positions, and pain that worsens when sleeping (especially on the affected side).

A-C Joint Sprain

The Acromioclavicular Joint or A-C Joint is the junction between the the clavicle (collar bone) and the Acromion Process (the part of the scapula at the top of the shoulder blade). An A-C Joint sprain occurs when the ligament that holds the A-C Joint together or the ligaments that support the A-C Joint become overstretched. The degree of injury can range from a mild strain of one or more of the surrounding ligaments to complete ligament tears and deformity. Generally, A-C Joint sprains are caused by direct forces when a person collides with a solid object or surface (falling off a bike or a football tackle) or from falling on an outstretched arm. Symptoms can include limited range of motion in the shoulder, pain on the top of the shoulder, difficulty lifting heavy objects, and pain when moving the arm across the body. There may also be swelling and bruising and occasionally the appearance of a hard lump on the top of the shoulder, indicating the clavicle (collar bone) has been displaced.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

The Brachial Plexus is a network of nerves that comes from the spinal cord in the neck and extends down the arm sending signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. These nerves control the movement in the shoulder, arm, and hand, as well as, provide feeling in the arm. A Brachial Plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in some cases, torn away from the spinal cord. Common causes of Brachial Plexus injuries happen from crushing injuries, falls, contact sports (football), inflammation, tumors, and the most severe injuries resulting from automobile or motorcycle accidents.

Bursitis

Shoulder Bursitis is inflammation of one or more of the shoulder bursae. In a healthy shoulder, the bursa (a fluid filled sack) functions as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between the muscles, tendons, and bones when in motion. The most common Shoulder Bursitis is Subacromion Bursitis, where the bursa can be impinged between the rotator cuff tendons and the acromion (the very top of the scapula). When impingement or injury occurs, the irritation results in swelling of the bursa and surrounding tissues. This decreases the amount of space within the shoulder, producing painful symptoms. Some indications of Shoulder Bursitis include tenderness at the outer shoulder; pain that radiates from the shoulder into the arm, elbow, or hand; pain that worsens when lying on the affected shoulder; increased pain when using the arm overhead; and muscle weakness or pain when reaching or lifting. Shoulder Bursitis can be caused by trauma, overuse injury, poor posture, age related weakening or deterioration of the shoulder, impingement of rotator tendons or bursa, rotator cuff tendonopathy, and rotator cuff injury.