Overview of Shoulder Injuries

This article is an overview of common shoulder injuries in work injury and personal injury cases.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff (“R/C”) is a common area for injuries that involve weakness, tenderness and pain. The rotator cuff is essentially comprised of the shoulder joint. Tendons are able to slide along an empty sac surrounding the rotator cuff called the bursa. It is also made up of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. Below are some of the most common RC injuries.

Tendonitis and impingement syndrome

Tendonitis in the RC is caused by impingement. Impingement refers to the act of being squeezed. The RC tendons and bursa can get squeezed when the space between the bone and RC narrows. The result of such an impingement is usually tendonitis.

Calcific Tendonitis

Calcific tendonitis occurs when calcium deposits form in the RC. The formation of calcium deposits in the RC usually causes inflammation of the tendons and the bursa. Thus, calcific tendonitis is essentially the inflammation of tendons and bursa from calcium deposits in the RC.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Older people are more susceptible to RC tears because the RC weakens with age. Tears can occur during activities that put stress on the tendons. It is also possible for a RC to tear in the absence of activity from degeneration.

Arthritis

The shoulder joint is one of the many body parts that are susceptible to arthritis. Symptoms of arthritis include pain and sometimes swelling in the shoulder.

Labrum

The labrum is cartilage in the shoulder that functions to stabilize the shoulder and facilitate movement. The labrum is essential for allowing arm movement. Because the shoulder joint is an extremely shallow ball and socket joint, the labrum forms a cup inside the joint to keep the arm in place while allowing it to move freely.

Labral tear or Bankart lesion.

When a shoulder is dislocated, the labrum usually tears as the shoulder pops out of the joint. A Bankart lesion is specific type of tear when a specific area of the labrum known as the glenohumeral ligament is torn.

Treatment for Bankhart lesions varies depending on whether a patient has reoccurring shoulder instability. Aching, susceptibility to dislocation and catching are the common symptoms of Bankart lesions. Those who experience a Bankart lesion are more likely to dislocate their shoulder again in the future.

We are lawyers, not doctors, but after you’ve handled a few thousand of these cases you get a pretty good understanding of the medicine involved. You also get a good sense as to whether or not one of these injuries is related to an accident or is just the typical decline of the body over time.