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Innovative Care for Orthopedic Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries may be common, but the pain associated with them can have a profound impact on your quality of life. From a standard strain to a ligament tear, shoulder issues affect people of all ages and activity levels.  Every day, the dedicated orthopedics and sports medicine specialists affiliated with Memorial Hermann help patients just like you rehabilitate and recover using innovative treatments and individualized care.

Common Types of Shoulder Injuries

One of the body’s largest and most complicated joints, the shoulder can break down due to several factors, including age, gender and level of activity. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons groups shoulder injuries into the following categories:

  • Shoulder Instability: Occurring when the shoulder joint is forced out of its normal position, shoulder instability includes shoulder separations and dislocations. Patients often experience pain and weakness when raising their arms and may feel as if their shoulder is “slipping out of place.”
  • Shoulder Impingement: Caused by the shoulder muscles rubbing against the top of the shoulder blade (called the acromion), impingement is typically a repetitive stress injury. If left untreated, it can develop into more serious problems affecting the shoulder muscles and ligaments.
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries: Most often associated with athletes, this type of shoulder injury can actually happen to anyone. Rotator cuff muscle strains and tendon tears require immediate treatment to ensure there is no permanent loss of mobility in the shoulder.

Common Causes for Shoulder Injuries

Although we often associate shoulder injuries with professional athletes or those with very active lifestyles, this type of injury can affect just about anyone. We do, however, see some common causes associated with shoulder injury, including:

  • Sports involving overhead activity that put stress on the shoulder joint, such as swimming, baseball and tennis
  • Activities requiring repetitive lifting or overhead motion, such as construction, painting or hanging curtains
  • On-the-job repetitive stress injuries such as awkward postures, frequent lifting and carrying, using vibrating equipment, static loading, or holding awkward postures
  • Unexpected accidents

Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Injuries

While some shoulder injuries, such as dislocation, can occur without warning, the vast majority of injuries develop slowly, through repetitive movements. If you notice any of the following early warning signs of shoulder issues, schedule a checkup with an orthopedic specialist to avoid further complications down the road:

  • Intense shoulder stiffness,
  • Shoulder pain, even at rest,
  • Inability to normally rotate your arm,
  • Weakness in the shoulder area, or
  • Feeling like your shoulder might pop or slide out of socket

Treatment Options for Shoulder Injuries

The affiliated orthopedic surgeons at Memorial Hermann offer innovation treatment options for shoulder injuries and disorders.

Arthritis Treatment

According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults suffer from arthritis, making it the leading cause of disability in America. Arthritis of the shoulder can cause inflammation, pain and stiffness, and can make it difficult to go about your daily routine. Memorial Hermann offers several treatment options for those with arthritic shoulder pain, from physical and aquatic therapy to joint replacement.

Bankart Repair

Bankart tears most often occur when a patient dislocates their shoulder, tearing the cartilage of the shoulder socket that reinforces the shoulder joint. Repairing a Bankart tear may require outpatient, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, and patients often go home within a few hours after the procedure.

Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator cuff injuries are some of the most commonly diagnosed shoulder injuries, and there are a variety of options for treatment. Your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff, which involves re-attaching the tendon to the humerus, or upper-arm bone. A partial rotator cuff tear, on the other hand, may simply need a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridement.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Top orthopedic surgeons will tell you that the key to recovering from a shoulder injury is physical therapy.

Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institutes and  convenient Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation clinics provide advanced physical therapy and specialty care at locations across the Greater Houston area, making shoulder rehabilitation as convenient as possible for every patient.

What Should I Do If I Have Shoulder Pain?

We all have our own tolerance for pain, but Dr. Matthew Koepplinger, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist affiliated with Memorial Hermann, recommends scheduling a checkup for any pain that interferes with your daily life.

“A professional exam goes a long way toward giving you peace of mind and getting an accurate diagnosis,” says Dr. Koepplinger. “You don’t know if the pain you have is something more serious until you check it out; it could be fixed very easily and simply before your condition gets worse.”

Choose Memorial Hermann for Orthopedic Shoulder Care

At Memorial Hermann, we’re committed to providing innovative and individualized care for every patient. We have the resources necessary to make quick and accurate diagnoses and the clinical knowledge to provide treatment with the least amount of intervention and the best possible results.

The first step in finding treatment for shoulder pain is to schedule an appointment with one of our affiliated orthopedic surgeons.

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