The shoulder is one of the body’s most mobile joints. Muscles, ligaments, three large bones and four major tendons facilitate the joint’s mobility, but they also leave it vulnerable to injury, trauma and degenerative diseases.

Professional and amateur athletes as well as exercise enthusiasts are especially prone to injury. However, anyone who uses the arm for repetitive movement in their work, hobbies or everyday life can also develop problems.

The Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence, with locations throughout the Salt Lake City, Utah, area, specializes in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine and the treatment of shoulder pain and injury.

Locations with Shoulder Experts

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The shoulder joint is vulnerable to a variety of chronic conditions that can cause pain and limit mobility of the arm. Impingement syndrome, a condition in which tendons become trapped or compressed beneath the bony arch of the scapula, can occur as the result of aging or overuse.

Bursitis occurs when bursae — fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning between bone and tendons or muscles — become injured or inflamed. This condition is also a greater risk for older patients and those who frequently engage in activities such as shoveling, painting and golfing.

Other common causes of shoulder joint pain include arthritis, gout and bone spurs. Those most prone to shoulder problems are older people, people with weak rotator cuffs and those who overuse this critical joint.

Shoulder Injury and Trauma

The most common shoulder injuries involve dislocation or separation, rotator cuff tendon tears and fractures of the scapula. Labral tears, also known as SLAP tears, are injuries to the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint socket.

Warning signs of injury and trauma include sudden, intense pain, the inability to rotate the arm normally, a feeling that the joint may pop or slide out of its socket and a loss of normal strength in the arm.

Shoulder Surgery and Treatment

As with most orthopedic problems, early detection is critical for preventing more serious injury. After evaluating the pain or discomfort to identify its source, the doctor may prescribe physical therapy, rest and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling. Corticosteroid injections and activity modification may also be prescribed.

For serious injuries, arthroscopic or open shoulder surgery may be necessary to treat rotator cuff tears, impingement, labral tears, bursitis or instability. If the ball or socket is damaged, shoulder replacement surgery may be warranted. Fortunately, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is effective for most patients.

The Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence, with advanced treatment centers in West Jordan, Tooele, Riverton and West Valley City, provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to patients throughout northern Utah. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors use a patient-centered approach and customized treatment plans to eliminate pain and restore functionality. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to address your shoulder pain or injury.