Sports are one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy, but with intense physical activity comes the potential for injuries. Shoulder pain is typical among athletes, especially in baseball, swimming, tennis, and weightlifting. As common as it is, it can be challenging to determine the source of pain and how best to treat it.
Here are five of the most common causes of shoulder pain in athletes:
The repetitive motions in sports, such as pitching in baseball, arm strokes in swimming, and blocking and tackling in football, can lead to overuse injuries. This type of shoulder pain is from muscle and tissue becoming strained or irritated from excessive use.
Common overuse injuries of the shoulder are:
- Rotator cuff tendinitis – inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons
- Impingement syndrome – pinching of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder joint
- Biceps tendonitis – inflammation of the biceps tendon at or near the shoulder joint
Shoulder instability occurs when the stabilizing ligaments and muscles become loose or weak. It can lead to:
- Dislocation – when the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) comes out of its normal position in the shoulder joint
- Subluxation – a partial dislocation
- Microtrauma – the tearing of tiny fibers in the ligaments or muscles
Instability can result from a traumatic injury, such as a fall or direct hit to the shoulder. Alternatively, it can develop over time due to repetitive use.
Arthritis is a common cause of shoulder pain in athletes, particularly those over 40. Active people may develop osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the shoulder joint. Often, this is due to wear and tear on the joint from repetitive motions and injuries.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It results from wear-and-tear damage to the joint cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain and swelling. Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and swelling.
Bursitis is the inflammation of bursae, tiny sacs of fluid that cushion and protect the tissues in a joint. Shoulder bursitis stems from overuse or trauma to the shoulder joint, such as a fall. It can also develop due to an infection, such as septic bursitis. Bursitis symptoms can include pain, swelling, and tenderness when moving the shoulder.
5. Rotator Cuff Injury
The rotator cuff includes four muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. They extend from the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. This group is responsible for stabilizing and rotating the shoulder.
Rotator cuff injuries can occur due to a traumatic event, such as a fall, direct hit, or lifting a heavy object. They can also develop over time due to repetitive use of the shoulder in sports.
Common symptoms of rotator cuff injuries include pain and a decreased range of motion. In severe cases, a person may experience weakness when attempting to move the arm.
When To Consult A Doctor For Shoulder Pain
It’s crucial to consult a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. You should also seek medical assistance if you experience the following:
- Pain that persists even when resting
- Pain that wakes you up at night
- Severe swelling, redness, or warmth in the shoulder joint
A doctor can help diagnose your shoulder pain and create the best treatment plan, which may include rest, physical therapy, and medications to reduce inflammation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a severe injury.
Treatment For Shoulder Pain In Johnson County, KS
Athletes must be mindful of the potential causes of shoulder pain and take steps to prevent them. Some examples are warming up before exercise and using proper form during exercise and sports play. These precautions can help keep shoulder injuries from occurring or worsening over time.
Do you need effective treatment for shoulder pain in Kansas City? You can rely on Midwest Orthopedics’ expert team of healthcare providers. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are trained, experienced, and excited to give you the best care. Call our friendly staff at (913) 362-8317 to learn about our services and how we can help you. You can also submit an online request form to book an appointment with the best orthopedic experts in Kansas City.
We look forward to serving you!