What Are Three Common Shoulder Injuries?

Your shoulders make up a unique part of your body in the sense that the structures holding it together are greatly intertwined. For this reason, one shoulder injury typically affects multiple muscles and negatively impacts your ability to move in the ways you might be accustomed to. You don’t know how important something is until it is taken away from you, and your shoulders are no exception.

Your comfort is important to us, and that’s why ReGen Medical Dallas uses state-of-the-art technology, including our High Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT) and our Myofascial Acoustic Compression Therapy (MyACT). Our goal is to non-invasively treat the cause of your shoulder pain in a way that doesn’t break the bank (or your personal boundaries).

The three most common shoulder injuries are tears, sprains and strains. Below, we help you learn about the symptoms of each and the various ways they can present themselves in your body.

Shoulder Tears

Like the name suggests, a shoulder tear is an injury to the soft tissues of the joints that help support your shoulders’ motion and stability. Shoulder tears are either considered “partial,” meaning the tendon is not severed, or “complete,” meaning the tendon has been completely separated from the bone. While tears are sometimes minor to begin with, a small tear has the potential to cause an even bigger one, so it’s important to nip it in the bud and receive treatment when you first notice symptoms.

Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Its job is to keep your upper arm bone within the socket of the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears occur when a tendon of the rotator cuff rips. These tips can be minor or quite severe. Rotator cuff tears commonly occur in people who do frequent overhead motions, like athletes, carpenters and construction workers; it is also quite common in people over the age of 60.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear Include:

  • A dull ache radiating deep in the shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain
  • Difficulty with movements due to shoulder pain
  • Weak arms

We know these symptoms are uncomfortable, and we are well-equipped to treat them in what is usually a fairly simple process. Our technology works to direct the body’s attention to the affected area to expedite the natural healing process.

Bicep Tendon Tear

Your tendons are the part of the body that attach muscle to bones. When looking at a shoulder, the bicep tendon is what attaches the bicep muscles to the bones in the shoulder and the elbow. When a biceps tendon tear occurs, the tendon is separated from the area it is holding together. This type of tear can occur suddenly with injury or overuse, or it can be brought on gradually. Similar to rotator cuff tears, they are most commonly found in athletes, those who perform heavy physical labor and in people over the age of 60.

Symptoms of a Bicep Tendon Tear Include:

  • Weak shoulders
  • Bruising of the upper arms
  • Shoulder pain (may come and go)
  • Difficulty or inability to move due to shoulder pain
  • Bulge in upper arm
  • Muscle spasms

In addition, many patients report hearing a “pop” noise when they have experienced a bicep tendon tear. The treatment necessary will depend on the severity of your injury as well as other factors that are personal to you.

Labral Tear

Your labrum is the cartilage and tissue that can be found in the shoulder joint that helps keep the ball of the joint in place. The causes of this particular tear are typically similar to the causes of other shoulder tears. What makes this tear different is actually the number of ways it can affect you.

For example, if the tear affects the top half of the socket in the connecting area, it is called a SLAP, or a superior labrum anterior and posterior tear. If the tear occurs on the bottom half of the socket, it is called a Bankart tear and if it occurs at the back of the shoulder, it is called a reverse Bankart tear.

Fun fact: The Bankart tear is named after Arthur Bankart, a British orthopedic surgeon who lived at the turn of the twentieth century and is accredited with describing this type of lesion and the procedure for repairing it.

Symptoms of a Labral Tear Include:

  • Difficulty or inability to move due to shoulder pain
  • A grinding or popping sensation and sound in the shoulder socket
  • Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain
  • Loss of shoulder strength and range of motion

Shoulder Sprains

A shoulder sprain occurs when the ligaments of the shoulder itself are torn. The ligaments are the tough bands of fibrous tissue that are each named after the bones they connect and are the main source of stability in the shoulder. Shoulder ligaments are essential for preventing your shoulder from dislocating. When your ligaments are injured, the bones it connects become dislocated or separated.

While shoulder sprains can have causes similar to shoulder tears, they are also often related to trauma, such as being involved in a car accident or falling onto an outstretched arm. Shoulder sprains are classified by grades depending on the extent of the damage.

Grade 1 & 2 Sprain

A sprain is considered “grade 1” or “grade 2” when the ligaments tear, but the bones they are attaching do not separate.

Symptoms of a Grade 1 or Grade 2 Sprain Include:

  • Slight swelling and tenderness of the collarbone
  • Mild pain associated with shoulder movement

Grade 3 Sprain

A “grade 3” sprain tends to be more painful because the bones that the ligaments are attaching to separate and the collarbone is often dislocated.

Symptoms of a Grade 3 Sprain Include:

  • Severe pain, swelling and bruising of the collarbone and surrounding areas
  • Inability to perform usual activities due to shoulder pain

Grade 4, 5, & 6 Sprain

In sprains of the “grade 4” and “grade 5” level, the ligaments tear, the AC joint separates and the muscles detach. In a “grade 6” level sprain, the collarbone is displaced under the bone structure called the coracoid process. This injury is extremely rare, with only ten cases ever reported in literature.

Shoulder Strains

Shoulder strains are a bit less complicated than other shoulder injuries in terms of what occurs in your body. The difference between a shoulder sprain and a shoulder strain is that while a sprain involves injury to the ligaments, a strain involves injury to the muscle or tendon around the shoulder.

How We Can Help

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms from the injuries above or having other difficulties, our highly skilled team is here to help shoulder the burden (pun intended). We don’t use drugs, injections, or surgery – just cutting-edge technology paired with a caring team of professionals committed to getting you pain-free as soon as possible.

Call (214) 855-7750 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at ReGen Medical Dallas today!