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Shoulder Injuries: Warning Signs, Types, and Treatment

You may not realize how helpful your shoulders are until you sustain an injury. Shoulder injuries mainly result from athletic activities involving excessive and repetitive overhead motions. Examples of such activities include swimming, pitching, tennis, and weightlifting. Sometimes shoulder injuries occur during everyday activities like gardening, hanging curtains, and washing walls. Shoulder pain may also stem from problems in other body parts (referred pain) or may be due to a condition like arthritis. Some shoulder injuries improve with simple treatments like rest and ice, but sometimes you may need to see your La Jolla, CA orthopedic shoulder & elbow surgeon right away.

Below are some of the signs that you need to see a professional.

  • Inability to use your shoulder
  • Intense pain
  • Deformed shoulder
  • Sudden shoulder swelling
  • Weakness or numbness in your arm or hand

Common shoulder injuries


Shoulder impingement occurs when tendons of the rotator cuff get compressed or pinched in the shoulder bones. It is caused by excessive rubbing of the shoulder muscles against the acromion, which is the top part of the shoulder blade. Performing activities that require excessive overhead arm motion elevates your risk of impingement problems. Seek immediate medical care if you have inflammation in the shoulder since that could lead to a more severe injury.


Instability is an injury whereby one of the shoulder joints moves or is forced out of its normal position; it can cause a dislocation of one of the joints in the shoulder. When you have instability, you experience pain when raising your arm, and you may also feel as though your shoulder is slipping out of place.

Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff is a vital shoulder component; it comprises a group of muscles and tendons that hold the bones of the shoulder joint together. These muscles allow you to lift your arm and reach overhead. When the rotator cuff is injured, one may sometimes not regain the full shoulder function needed to participate in an athletic activity.

Shoulder exercises

Your orthopedic surgeon will prescribe exercises to strengthen your shoulder muscles. Below are some simple activities to strengthen your shoulder muscles and prevent injuries.

  • Attach an elastic band of tubing to a steady area like a door known. Gently pull the elastic string towards your body and hold for a count of five. Repeat at least five times with each arm at least twice a day.
  • Face a wall while standing and place your hands on it while your feet are shoulder-width apart. Gently and slowly perform a push-up and hold for a count of five. Repeat five times and perform the exercise at least twice a day.
  • Sit straight on a chair with an armrest with your feet on the floor. Use your arms for support as you slowly rise off the chair and hold for a count of five. Repeat the action five times and perform it twice a day.

If you have shoulder pain, schedule an appointment with your orthopedic surgeon at Upper Extremity Specialists for treatment to restore your full function.