Our shoulders, when healthy and functioning with optimal flexibility and strength, enable us to move our arms in different directions and perform a variety of daily activities. Over time, however, the shoulder can start to lose its strength, and as a result, certain wear-and-tear injuries may occur.
The term “wear and tear” refers to the thinning or loss of cartilage between joints, which can cause pain, stiffness and weakness in the affected area. This can occur as the result of constant use of the shoulder – which catches up with us, especially as we age.
Certain degenerative medical conditions can also cause wear and tear of joints.
Arthritis and overuse injuries, such as shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tears, are among the most common causes of wear and tear of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons above the shoulder joint that give us the ability to lift and rotate the arm. Injuries such as direct impact from a hit or fall to the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff, can lead to tears that need to be surgically repaired. Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles become too crowded and rub on the shoulder blade, causing pain and restricted mobility.
If your job or the recreational activities that you enjoy doing place a high demand on your shoulder (such as repetitive overhead motions), it can aggravate the shoulder joint and aggravate cartilage deterioration, aka wear and tear. This, in turn, can lead to more severe rotator cuff tears and shoulder impingements.
The complex anatomy of the shoulder joint – together with our seemingly 24/7 reliance on the joint – make it especially prone to injury.
Wear and tear injuries of the shoulder can in turn lead to broken bones and dislocation of the shoulder.
Our risk of wear and tear injuries of the shoulder increase with age. For example, the majority of people who develop rotator cuff tears do so after the age of 40.
Treatment of Wear and Tear Shoulder Injuries
In order to treat wear and tear injuries of the shoulder – such as rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingement syndrome, and complications such as shoulder dislocations – the orthopedic specialists at Advanced Bone & Joint will first carefully evaluate your shoulder for a proper diagnosis.
Treatment for wear and tear injuries may vary, depending on its cause, but may include therapies such as cortisone injections, medication, physical therapy, and exercises.
If these nonsurgical methods do not resolve the issue, surgery may be recommended. Rotator cuff surgery and joint replacement of the shoulder are among the most common procedures for should injuries caused by wear and tear.
To learn more about wear and tear injuries and how to avoid them from occurring, call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 229-4222 or you can request an appointment online.