Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are one the most common types of injury sustained through strenuous activity or general overuse.

Below are some of the most common shoulder injuries and conditions that most of us will experience at some time.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The Rotator cuff is made of four thick fibrous tendons connecting muscles from the shoulder blade (scapula) to the upper arm bone (humerus). The rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) provide stability for the shoulder by securing the head of the humorus (upper arm bone) firmly in the glenoid fossa (ball socket joint of shoulder).  On top of the shoulder joint is a bone called the acromian and in the space between the shoulder joint (subacromial space) lies a fluid-filled pad called the subacromial bursa which cushions the tendons. Together they function to assist movements of the arms.

Over 70% of the population in the UK will experience a shoulder problem at some point in their life with a high chance of rotator cuff injury being the source of pain.  Given the relatively small size of these muscles and the amount of work that is demanded of them, they can become inflamed, damaged or torn due to trauma or repetitive overuse during sporting or non-sporting activities. The most commonly injured rotator cuff is the Supraspinatus tendon but any or all of them can be injured at any one time.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Rotator cuff tendinopathy mainly occurs in the subacromial space where there is an inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa that surrounds them. Tendons can become pinched and trapped against other structures of the shoulder known as’ rotator cuff impingement’. Inflammation of the subacromial bursa is referred to as ‘bursitis’

Torn Rotator Cuff

Rotator cuff tears are very common.  Any one of these tendons can be torn by lifting heavy weights, overuse or sudden jolting movements. The likelihood of injury to these tendons increase with age. You can have a partial tear which is often caused be overuse over a period of time or a full tear which may be a result of trauma. Some common symptoms include pain on top of the shoulder or referred pain along the outside of the arm to the elbow.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries

  • Pain in your shoulder and arm when raising and lowering your arm.
  • Difficulty in reaching behind your back.
  • Pain when sleeping on the affected side.
  • Weakness in your shoulder when you lift or rotate your arm.
  • Redness and local swelling.

Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)

This is commonly known as a ‘frozen shoulder’. The shoulder capsule and the connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder becomes inflamed. This can be a very painful and debilitating disorder which restricts even simple movement. Severe inflammation can cause other problems in the shoulder such as tendinopathy and bursitis. The cause is not understood but the risk is believed to increase with age and is more common in women than men. Diabetes also increases your risk of developing a frozen shoulder.

Shoulder Separation

This occurs in the joint  where the scapula and clavicle bones meet (acromioclavicular joint). This type of injury is usually caused by a fall or sharp blow at the top of the shoulder. Often, the ligament, tissues and nerves are injured or even completely torn. Common symptoms include severe pain, swelling and sometimes bruising. A lump can be present in more serious injuries. Slings are often used to prevent movement and promote healing but more serious injuries may require surgery.

Shoulder Strains

Shoulder strains are the most common type of shoulder injury. Many shoulder strains occur in the front or anterior head of the deltoid, where the bicep runs underneath the deltoid. Shoulder strains mainly happen when lifting too much weight or from pushing or pulling heaving objects.  Strains can vary from mild to severe depending on how badly the muscle fibers have been stretched.


Osteoarthritis is often found to effect the acromioclavicular joint which is the joint at the top of the shoulder. Bones that have previously been fractured such as the collarbone (clavicle) and the top of the humerus are also prone to osteoarthritis.


If you are suffering from a shoulder injury or condition and would like help to speed up your recovery, improve your range of movement and mobility then contact Fit n Well.


To make an appointment call Maria on 07977 427644 or email us using this link