Shoulder Pain


The small cushions of fluid that are found near joints are called bursae. Bursae add another layer of protection to tendons, muscles, and joints. Therefore, an injury to one of these small sacs can cause considerable pain with movement. Most commonly, such an injury is the inflammation of a bursa, which is called bursitis.

Bursitis occurs most often in the joints located around the shoulder, hip or elbow, though any bursae in other joints can be affected as well. Symptoms include swelling from inflammation, possible redness, and a variable degree of pain, possibly leading to limitation of joint movement


Arthritis in the shoulder is primarily found in one of two places: the glenohumeral joint (which is where the ball and socket are located) or the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Glenohumeral arthritis is a result of the deterioration of the cartilage between the bones in the shoulder. This lack of cushion between the bones could cause friction and increase the possibility of the development of bone spurs, leading to a degree of pain that might necessitate shoulder replacement.

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint arthritis affects the area of the shoulder between the scapula and clavicle. The AC joint works in conjunction with the glenohumeral joint to provide a full range of motion in the shoulder. Arthritis in this joint could disrupt that movement. Both of these types of arthritis could be brought on by overuse, injury, or rheumatoid disease and are more predominant in older adults.

Rotator Cuff Tear

A tear to the rotator cuff is a common injury to those who frequently need to repeat overhead motion. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons in the shoulder that allows the arm to swivel above the head. Tearing any part of these tissues could be a result of a specific injury to the area or the overuse of it from constant repetition. There are varying degrees of rotator cuff tears. A partial tear may result in less pain, but motion could be restricted and weakness could occur. However, a complete tear of one of the muscles or tendons in the rotator cuff will lead to more extensive rehabilitation.

Labral Tear

The shoulder is one of the more complicated joints, comprised of three bones: the clavicle, the scapula, and the humerus. The labrum is to the soft tissue that cushions the socket between the scapula and the humerus. Symptoms of a labral tear are similar to many other should injuries, including pain, limited range of motion, and weakness. These tears also result from the same types of injury: overuse, age, or specific contact injury. A visit to the doctor, with a diagnostic MRI can help to determine the specific nature of the injury.

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