Treatments & Conditions | Hand Microsurgery in Erie, PA

Shoulder Injuries & Conditions | Hand Microsurgery in Erie, PA

Hand Microsurgery has medical staff members who are specialized in treatment of the upper extremities. The shoulder is made up of three bones including your upper arm bone, shoulder blade, and collarbone. Your arm is kept into place within your shoulder socket by your rotator cuff which is a network of four muscles that come together as tendons to protect the end of your upper arm bone. These separate parts of the shoulder function together to help raise, rotate, and swing your arm in motion. If parts of the joint are injured, the shoulder can become unstable and could cause pain or limit the movement. Listed below are a few shoulder injuries and conditions that may require professional assistance and/or medical treatment from Hand Microsurgery.


Dislocated Shoulder

The shoulder joint can dislocate forward, backward, or downward. A common type of shoulder dislocation is when the shoulder slips forward. This means the upper arm bone moved forward and down, out of its joint. It may happen when the arm is put in a throwing position. The shoulder is one of the easiest joints to dislocate. 

A partial dislocation means the head of the upper arm bone is partially out of the socket. A complete dislocation means it is all the way out of the socket. Both partial and complete dislocations cause pain and unsteadiness in the shoulder. 

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and over time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60, and occurs in women more often than men. With frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes tight, which causes stiff bands of tissue to begin to develop. There are three stages of frozen shoulder which include:

  • Freezing: During this stage, you slowly begin to have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, your shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months.
  • Frozen: Painful symptoms may actually improve during this stage, but the stiffness remains. During the 4 to 6 months of the "frozen" stage, daily activities may be very difficult.
  • Thawing: Shoulder motion slowly improves during the "thawing" stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years.

Pain from frozen shoulder is usually dull or aching, and is typically worse early in the course of the disease. The pain is usually located over the outer shoulder area and sometimes the upper arm. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. A few factors may put you more at risk for developing frozen shoulder such as diabetes, immobilization, and other diseases.

Shoulder Separation

A shoulder separation is not truly an injury to the shoulder joint. The injury actually involves the AC joint. The AC joint is where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. The most common cause for a separation of the AC joint is from a fall directly onto the shoulder. The fall injures the ligaments that surround and stabilize the AC joint. If the force is severe enough, the ligaments attaching to the underside of the clavicle are torn. This causes the "separation" of the collarbone and wing bone. The wing bone actually moves downward from the weight of the arm. This creates a "bump" or bulge above the shoulder. The injury can range from a little change in configuration with mild pain, to quite deforming and very painful.

Shoulder Treatment

Often, the orthopaedic surgeons of Hand Microsurgery will prescribe a series of exercises aimed at strengthening the shoulder muscles. Shoulder exercises may include basic shoulder strengthening using an elastic band, wall push-ups, or shoulder press-ups. Anti-inflammatory medication also may be prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. Certain injuries may require surgical treatment if severe enough. However, the medical staff of Hand Microsurgery will ensure to consider non-surgical options first.

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