Shoulder Injuries

  • Rotator Cuff Injuries

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help provide stability to the shoulder. Injuries to the rotator cuff commonly occur when one is doing repetitive overhead motions in sports or at work. The risk of a rotator-cuff injury also increases as one ages. Typically, there is a gradual onset of shoulder pain after doing some strenuous activity (e.g., shovelling or painting). The aching pain is worse at night, especially when trying to sleep on the affected shoulder. Patients can expect shoulder pain to persist for several months after the injury.

    Most rotator-cuff injuries can heal without surgery. By beginning physiotherapy early, the patient can decrease muscle wasting, control pain, and help improve his or her strength around the shoulder and shoulder blade (scapula).

    If there is a large tear to the rotator cuff muscles and/or tendon, surgery may need to be considered.

  • Shoulder Dislocation (Anterior)

    A shoulder dislocation occurs when the head of the arm bone (humerus) separates from the socket. The shoulder will look visibly out of place and the patient will complain that his or her shoulder feels like it is sitting in his or her arm pit. The patient will also not want to move his or her arm. Numbness can occur at the same time and make the arm feel "dead" (dead-arm syndrome). If the shoulder is not put back into place (reduced), further damage to the nerves around the shoulder can occur.

    The patient should seek medical attention immediately. One should never try to reduce or get the shoulder back in its socket without medical help.

    Starting physiotherapy right after the shoulder is reduced can restore range of motion, improve strength, and control pain. Repeated shoulder dislocations have a cumulative effect; therefore, surgical intervention may be indicated in cases of repeated dislocations.

Shoulder Injury Clinic

The Shoulder Injury Clinic is made up of a team that includes an orthopedic surgeon, physiotherapists and an administrative secretary. Together they work to educate, assess, and provide rehabilitation and surgical treatment options for patients who have suffered from rotator-cuff and other shoulder muscle tear injuries or shoulder dislocations.

Referrals to these clinics can be made from the Glen Sather Clinic physiotherapist or sport and exercise medicine physician.