These are the most important things to look for when you think that you might have torn something in your shoulder.

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Shoulder injuries are common, and they can be difficult to diagnose. There are many possible causes of shoulder pain, so you’ll likely need to see a doctor who has experience treating shoulder injuries.

Shoulder injuries can be difficult to diagnose on your own, but here are some signs of specific shoulder injuries.

Rotator cuff tears

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. They originate on the shoulder blade and attach as tendons to the upper arm. They stabilize the ball in the socket while the larger muscles move your arm overhead or away from your body.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:

  • Your shoulder hurts when you try to lift something overhead
  • The pain feels deep in the shoulder joint and may radiate down your arm
  • Pain in the front of the shoulder when doing overhead activities such as reaching over head to fix your hair or get something out of a cabinet, or lifting up something heavy with one hand away from your body.
  • A feeling of weakness when raising an arm out to the side or behind your back (e.g., reaching for something on top shelf).
  • As a general rule, if you are experiencing shoulder pain and weakness with overhead activity or reaching away from your body, there is a good chance that you have injured your rotator cuff.

Pain deep within the shoulder joint, especially after a specific injury, could indicate a torn labrum.

The shoulder joint is located at the top of your arm. It’s made up of bones, muscles and ligaments that allow you to move your arms in different directions. If you’re in pain deep within this joint and it doesn’t get better with rest, ice or over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), there may be something wrong with the labrum – a ring of cartilage around each side of your socket can tear when you fall on an outstretched hand or lift something heavy with poor form.

You experience a feeling of instability in your shoulder or that it might pop out of place

Feeling like your shoulder is overly loose or trying to come out of the socket, especially after a specific injury, could be a sign of shoulder instability.

For younger patients with recurrent shoulder dislocations or subluxations, rest and physical therapy aren’t enough to stabilize the joint and surgery is performed.

It can be difficult to know if you tore something in your shoulder. The best way to determine if this is the case is by seeing a doctor with experience treating shoulder injuries. They will look at several factors, including the type of pain you’re experiencing and any previous injuries that might have led up to this one. The doctor or surgeon will examine your shoulder, perform x-rays of your shoulder, and possibly order an MRI of your shoulder to determine the cause of your symptoms and plan treatment that gets you back to what you do as quickly as possible.

We are looking for 5 patients with shoulder pain who want to get significantly better in the next 30 days, without cortisone shots, physical therapy, or surgery. Click this link and enter the term ‘Interested’ in the description box to learn more.

This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.