Tag Archive for: shoulder pain

Scapula Fracture

Scapula fractures, also known as shoulder blade fractures, are relatively uncommon, but the damage they can incur can be quite serious. They often cause severe pain and discomfort, making it difficult to carry out daily routines and activities. Early diagnosis is key in avoiding potential complications. To get the best care possible, you should see the skilled and experienced orthopedic specialists at OCC – Colorado Center of Orthopedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as soon as the injury happens.


Because the scapula is protected by the chest and surrounding muscles, it is not easily fractured. Scapula fractures make up fewer than 1% of all fractures and 3 to 5% of shoulder fractures. Most often caused by direct trauma from the back or side involving a large amount of force, in 80% of scapula fractures, there are other associated injuries. Scapula fractures occur more often in young men aged 25 to 45 because of the activities they participate in. About three-quarters of cases are caused by high-speed car and motorcycle collisions.


The scapula, or shoulder blade, is a large, flat triangular bone located in the back of the shoulder between the shoulder and the spine that is divided into five anatomical parts:

  • Scapular neck: the portion of the bone that connects the glenoid and scapular body
  • Scapular body: the large, flat, triangle-shaped area of the scapula
  • Acromion process: a bony projection of the scapula located at the top-most part of the shoulder, forming a joint with the end of the clavicle (collarbone)
  • Coracoid: a curved, hook-like projection off the front of the scapula located under the clavicle, between the shoulder’s ball and socket and the first rib
  • Glenoid: the shoulder socket

The scapula, together with the clavicle (collarbone) and humerus (upper arm), are the three bones that make up the shoulder and are well connected by a complex system of muscles. The shoulder blade connects the arm to the thorax (chest wall) while the muscles of the scapula ensure correct movement of the arm over the thorax.


A scapula fracture is a break or crack in the scapula. Scapula fractures can be classified into different types based on the location and pattern of the fracture. One or more parts of the scapula may get fractured. 80 to 95 % of all scapular fractures are accompanied by other injuries like fractures of the shoulder, collarbone, and ribs, or injury to the head, lungs, and spinal cord, typically because it requires high-energy/torque trauma to cause an injury to the scapula. Potential consequences of scapula fractures include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle weakness and atrophy
  • Chronic instability: this can result in recurrent dislocations or subluxations where the shoulder partially or completely comes out of its socket
  • Nerve and vascular damage: nerve injury can lead to sensory or motor deficits, while vascular damage can result in impaired blood supply to the arm, potentially causing additional complications
  • Malunion or nonunion: without proper alignment and stabilization, the fractured scapula may heal in an incorrect position (malunion) or may not heal at all (nonunion)
  • Secondary arthritis: over time, untreated fractures can lead to the development of secondary arthritis in the shoulder joint, causing pain, inflammation, and further limitations in joint movement

Read more about Scapula Fractures on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Glenoid Labrum Tear

If left untreated, a glenoid labrum tear can lead to chronic pain, recurrent shoulder instability, and weakness. This can limit how much one can use the arm and shoulder and lead to more serious shoulder problems. Fortunately, if you suspect you have a glenoid labrum tear in the shoulder, the orthopedic surgeons at the Colorado Center of Orthopedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can help. As orthopedic specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of glenoid labrum tears, they can recommend different options before recommending surgery. And if surgery is needed, rest assured their skilled orthopedic team is widely known for their expertise.


A glenoid labrum tear is a tear of the labrum, a thick band of cartilage that lines the rim of the glenoid, which is commonly called the shoulder socket. At any point in time, 25% of adults will deal with shoulder pain due to injury or overuse. SLAP tears, also known as labrum tears, represent 4% to 8% of all shoulder injuries. The L in SLAP refers to the glenoid labrum. Glenoid labrum tears are hard to prevent, especially in athletes, because the force of overhead motion contributes to the injury. Although athletes are most prone to glenoid labrum tears, people who experience a traumatic event—such as falling down a flight of stairs—are also at risk. This is especially the case in adults over 40 years of age because cartilage becomes more brittle with age.


The shoulder joint is made up of the shoulder blade (scapula), the collarbone (clavicle), and the upper arm bone (humerus). The head of the humerus rests in a socket in the shoulder blade called the glenoid. The head of the humerus is much larger than the socket, which is where the labrum comes in. The labrum is a thick, rubbery type of cartilage that surrounds and attaches to the socket, essentially forming a bumper that deepens the socket by up to 50% so that the head of the humerus fits better, helping to keep the ball in place. The second function of the labrum is as an attachment of other structures or tissues around the joint. For example, the ligaments that help hold the joint together attach to the labrum in certain key locations. If there is an injury to the shoulder that tears the ligaments, sometimes the labrum is pulled off of the rim of the bone as well.


A glenoid labrum tear, also known as a shoulder joint tear, is when the cartilage that lines and reinforces the shoulder joint, the glenoid labrum, is torn. Tears can be located either above (superior) or below (inferior) the middle of the glenoid socket. The two most common types of labral injuries are the SLAP tear and Bankart tear, and it is easy to confuse these.

  • SLAP tears: SLAP stands for “superior labrum from anterior to posterior.” This type of tear occurs at the front of the upper arm where the biceps tendon connects to the shoulder. Athletes most prone to this injury include baseball pitchers and volleyball players who engage in high-energy, quick-snap motions over the top of the shoulder. SLAP tears have been classified according to their severity of tear. The common types are types 1 to 4. There are other types, but these are rare. Type 2 is the most common type of SLAP tear. The superior labrum is completely torn off the glenoid, due to an injury (often a shoulder dislocation). This type leaves a gap between the articular cartilage and the labral attachment to the bone.
  • Bankart tears: Bankart tears typically occur in younger patients who have dislocated their shoulder. When the shoulder joint ball slips out of the socket, the joint capsule can pull on the lower portion of the labrum and tear it. This in turn creates instability because the breached labrum makes it easier for the shoulder to dislocate again.

Read more about Glenoid Labrum Tears on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Clavicle Fracture

A clavicle fracture is more commonly known as a broken collarbone. People of all ages can get a clavicle fracture, though it’s particularly common in children and young adults. It is often very painful and can make moving the arm or shoulder difficult, making daily activities nearly impossible. Serious complications can also occur with a broken collarbone. That’s why you should see one of the experienced and highly-trained shoulder specialists at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for treatment of a clavicle fracture before it has a negative impact on your life.


The collarbone (also called the clavicle) is the bone that connects the breastbone to the shoulder. A broken collarbone (also called a clavicle fracture) is when this bone breaks. The clavicle is one of the most fractured bones in the body, making up about 5% of all bone fractures. Teenagers and children are at higher risk than adults, typically occurring in those younger than 25. That’s because the collarbone doesn’t completely harden until around age 20. Because they are most likely to play high-impact sports, young men and teenage boys are at the most risk for clavicle fractures. Men are nearly 3 times more likely to sustain a clavicle fracture than women.


There are two clavicles, long, slender, S-shaped bones that run horizontally between the top of the breastbone (sternum) and the shoulder blade (scapula). By serving as a strut to the shoulder, it helps keep the arm in the right position for overhead activity and allows the muscles to be under the correct tension to maintain strength. The clavicle is the first bone to start to ossify in the fifth week of fetal life and the last to conclude the growth through its growth center as late as age 25. It is a very prominent structure with only skin and “supraclavicular” skin sensory nerves crossing its surface. That’s why the clavicle can be felt by touching the area between the neck and shoulder.


A clavicle can crack in one place or break into several pieces (comminuted fracture). The broken pieces may still line up or end up out of place (displaced fracture). Clavicle fractures are divided into three types based on location:

  1. Near the sternum (breastbone)– the least common
  2. Near the AC joint (the AC joint is where the clavicle bone meets the big bone behind the shoulder that also forms part of the shoulder joint)—second most common
  3. In the middle of the shaft of the bone, approximately halfway between the sternum and the AC joint—the most common

Even if the broken bones aren’t perfectly lined up, the body can usually make them straight again. That’s because the collarbone has a thick outer layer that doesn’t break and acts like a sleeve to hold the bone together while it heals.

Read more about Clavicle Fractures on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Reverse Total Shoulder

Painful shoulder conditions, such as shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff tears, are common. Treatments like medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections can help, but sometimes a surgical option like a reverse total shoulder replacement is the best way to provide long-lasting pain relief. The first step to take is to get a proper diagnosis and the treatment that will most help you, and the place you can trust to get the best, is at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. No one needs to live with shoulder pain.


As advanced technologies continue to evolve, there are now treatments for shoulder conditions that previously couldn’t be fixed. One of the fastest-growing segments of shoulder surgery is reverse total shoulder replacement. Reverse total shoulder replacements were originally designed in the 1980s in Europe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved their use in the U.S. in 2003. It is now estimated that approximately 80,000 reverse total shoulder replacements are performed each year in the U.S. Reverse total replacement surgery can be extremely beneficial for the right type of patient.


The human shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. This mobility provides the upper extremity with a tremendous range of motion, such as adduction, abduction, flexion, extension, internal rotation, and external rotation. The three bones in the shoulder are the shoulder blade (scapula), collarbone (clavicle), and upper arm bone (humerus). The shoulder joint also called the glenohumeral joint, is formed where a ball (head) at the top of the humerus fits into a shallow cuplike socket (glenoid) in the scapula, allowing a wide range of movement. Because the socket of the shoulder is shallow, the joint relies on surrounding soft tissues to support it and hold the components in place. Many of these soft tissues surround the joint to form a protective capsule lined with a thin membrane called the synovium. The synovium produces a fluid (synovial fluid) to cushion and lubricate the joint. The shoulder joint allows one to complete tasks with the arm, like reaching for items on a tall shelf or throwing a ball.


A reverse shoulder replacement is much like a traditional shoulder replacement in that both techniques involve replacing the natural degenerated bone and cartilage with plastic and metal components. This type of surgery is also called reverse arthroplasty. “Arthro” means joint, “plasty” means to mold surgically. It is called a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty because the ball and socket are “reversed” when the new joint is placed. The original socket is replaced with a metal ball, and the original ball is replaced with a highly engineered plastic socket. The new shoulder pieces will fit together like one’s natural shoulder. The new components allow the shoulder to move freely and pain-free. This special type of replacement surgery changes the biomechanics of the shoulder by allowing the deltoid muscle to stabilize and move the shoulder joint instead of the original rotator cuff muscles.

Read more about Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. What commonly happens is the patient has no idea they have a severe injury to the brachial plexus. They know their hand or arm is not working properly, but they often don’t know why, or that there may be a way to treat the problem. It’s important to consult with a trained and experienced orthopedics specialist right away. The place you’re going to get not just the most, but the best help is at Advanced Orthopedics in Denver, Parker, or Aurora, Colorado.


A brachial plexus injury occurs when the network of nerves mentioned above is stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord. It’s possible to injure the brachial plexus without knowing it, but the consequences can include temporary numbness of the arm, pain, and loss of sensation. Minor brachial plexus injuries, known as stingers or burners are common in contact sports such as football. Other conditions, such as inflammation or tumors may affect the brachial plexus. The most severe injuries usually result from automobile or motorcycle accidents.


The brachial plexus is formed as the nerves to the arm, hand, and fingers pass from the spinal cord, between the bones of the neck (vertebrae), and go into the arm. Along the side of the neck, near the shoulder, these nerves merge. From there, they branch out to form a “highway system,” or “plexus,” of nerves. This system of nerves then travels behind the collarbone (clavicle) and spreads out into the arm. The nerves that go to the shoulder lie higher in the neck than those that travel to the hand and fingers. Nerves that provide feeling to the hand and fingers lie lower in the neck and deep in the armpit. The five nerves are:

  • Musculocutaneous nerve– flexes muscles in the upper arm, at both the shoulder and elbow
  • Axillary nerve– helps the shoulder rotate and enables the arm to lift away from the body
  • Medial nerve– enables movement in the forearm and parts of the hand.
  • Radial nerve– controls various muscles in the upper arm, elbow, forearm, and hand
  • Ulnar nerve– allows for fine motor control of the finger


Brachial plexus injuries are categorized according to how the nerves are damaged and the severity of the injury.

Read more about Brachial Plexus Injuries on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Shoulder Instability

The shoulder is among the most flexible components of the human body. It helps you move and rotate your arm in various directions and allows you to reach over your head. Because shoulders have such a great range of motion, though, they are more susceptible to instability. The more shoulder instability a patient has, the more it can increase the risk of injury to surrounding structures in the shoulder, such as tears of the labrum, cartilage injuries, rotator cuff injuries, or even fractures. It is essential to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury and determine a plan of treatment. If you are having continuous episodes of shoulder pain, an excellent place to start is the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their orthopedic specialist will help you resolve the condition and alleviate the pain that could make it more challenging to cope with everyday issues and do activities important to you, like work, sports, and hobbies.


Shoulder instability occurs when the shoulder joint (ball and socket) has lost its normal alignment (ball resting symmetrically in the socket), which causes the arm to lose its support. The most common type of shoulder instability is a shoulder dislocation, with the ball coming out of the socket in the forward direction. Once the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder become loose or torn, the risk of dislocations occurring repeatedly is greater. When this happens, it is called chronic or recurrent shoulder instability. Approximately 70 % of shoulder dislocations occur in males.


Attempts have been made to classify different types of shoulder instability according to the degree of laxity, frequency of symptoms, and specific anatomic lesions. Classifying by direction, however, helps to understand the cause better and formulate the approach to diagnostic testing and treatment.

Read more about Shoulder Instability on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.


SLAP tears happen when you tear the cartilage in the inner part of your shoulder joint. The tears can be caused by injury or overuse and make it painful or difficult for you to move your shoulder and arm. Left untreated, these tears can cause chronic pain, limit how much you can use your arm and shoulder, and lead to more serious shoulder problems. There is no reason to wait until a SLAP tear tears into the things you love to do when you can get the help you need at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their highly skilled orthopedic professionals are well-trained in the possible complexities of SLAP tears. Don’t wait to address your shoulder pain because you don’t know where to go. Now you do.


The term SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. In a SLAP injury, the top (superior) part of the labrum is injured. This top area is also where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum. A SLAP tear occurs both in the front (anterior) and back (posterior) of this attachment point. SLAP tears (also called SLAP lesions) vary in severity. They are common injuries among overhand athletes who make forceful arm movements, such as baseball players or tennis players. One might get a SLAP tear if they tried to break a fall with an outstretched arm or in daily activities that involve lifting things with jerking movements. A SLAP  tear can be a serious injury, no matter age or professional level. Most SLAP tears don’t happen in one day and usually result from repetitive trauma inside the shoulder. SLAP tears represent 4% to 8% of all shoulder injuries.


Shoulders connect the upper arms to the torso. The shoulder joint is the body’s most flexible joint, as well as its most complex. Three bones, nearly a dozen different muscles, and many ligaments and tendons meet in the shoulder. The way they are connected allows the raising and lowering of the collarbone when shrugging the shoulders, moving the shoulder blades closer together, or crossing the arms. The way they are connected allows movement of the arms in almost any direction. But this flexibility comes at a price; the shoulder is prone to injury. And it is not always easy to find the exact cause of shoulder pain.


The L in SLAP refers to the glenoid labrum. The labrum plays two crucial roles in keeping the shoulder functioning and pain-free. First, the labrum is a cushion for the top part of the upper arm bone. This cushion helps the upper arm bone stay where it belongs – cradled in the shoulder socket. Second, the labrum is a connection point between your shoulder blade socket and one of your bicep tendons. The S in SLAP refers to the top of the labrum. When this part of the labrum tears, the upper arm bone loses its cushion, and the bicep tendon loses its connection to the shoulder blade socket. As a result, the shoulder hurts and feels unstable.

Read more about Slap Tears on our new Colorado Springs Orthopedic News Site – Colorado Springs Orthopedic News. Schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist today.

Frozen Shoulder: Why It Happens and How to Treat It

You’ve probably heard of frozen shoulder, but what is it and how can you recover? Shoulders are the most mobile joint in the human body, and this mobility is essential to get full use of your hands and arms. There are many causes of shoulder pain, but when your mobility is limited by pain, tightness, or stiffness, it could be a sign you are suffering from frozen shoulder.

Let’s learn about why people get frozen shoulder and how to treat it.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

The shoulder is made up of three bones, surrounded by ligaments, tendons, and nerves. A joint capsule holds all of those parts together and keeps them in place. Frozen shoulder happens when that shoulder joint capsule thickens and tightens, causing pain when a person tries to move their shoulder. Some patients with frozen shoulder report increased pain at night, sometimes strong enough to interrupt their sleep.

It typically comes on gradually in most people. It has three stages that can each last several months:

  • Freezing Stage: the shoulder’s range of motion typically becomes more limited and using the shoulder becomes more painful
  • Frozen Stage: Pain might decrease, but range of motion and stiffness increase
  • Thawing Stage: Range of motion and ability to use the shoulder start to improve

How Can You Get It?

Frozen shoulder occurs for a variety of reasons, and there’s no one definitive reason why it happens to some people and not others. However, it does tend to be more prevalent in patients who have one or more of the following:

  • Over 40-years-old
  • Female
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Broken arm
  • Stroke
  • Recovering from shoulder surgery – especially when patients do not follow their physical therapy plan.
  • Diabetes
  • Other diseases, including heart disease, thyroid disease, tuberculosis, and Parkinson’s

How Is Frozen Shoulder Diagnosed?
The doctors at the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence will determine whether you have frozen shoulder by discussing your symptoms and performing a physical examination. This can include asking you to move your shoulder and then gently manipulating it to determine your range of motion. Other tests may include an X-ray or MRI, but are not typically required to diagnose frozen shoulder.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment for most frozen shoulder sufferers involves stretching and physical therapy to help loosen and strengthen the joint. This typically helps increase range of motion and reduce stiffness. Regularly performing specific exercises recommended by a doctor or physical therapist is generally an effective treatment, although it can still take as long as three years to fully resolve.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, like aspirin or ibuprofen, can help decrease pain. But if the pain is more severe, your doctor might recommend a steroid injection or numbing medication.

If you don’t start feeling better over time or the condition does not improve, there are additional treatments. Some physicians may perform joint distention – injecting sterile water into the joint capsule to help stretch it out. Surgery is another course of treatment, but it is rarely necessary to treat frozen shoulder.

It is uncommon for frozen shoulder to return if the patient follows their treatment plan. However, contributing conditions like diabetes can make a recurrence more likely.

One of the most common causes of frozen shoulder is immobility, often after injury, surgery, or a stroke. If you are having a hard time moving your shoulder, talk to one of our specialists about diagnosis and treatment, including exercises to help maintain your range of motion and reduce your likelihood of getting it:

Dr. Doner

Dr. Kobayashi

Dr. Henderson

Dr. Martyak

Dr. Larsen

Dr. Purcell

To make an appointment or learn more, click here.

Shoulder Pain: Common Causes and Treatments

Shoulder pain can come from a number of sources – some more obvious, like a traumatic injury, and others that may develop more subtly over time from overuse or arthritis. The best treatment depends on the type of injury you have and what bone, muscles or tendons are injured.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain that doesn’t improve with rest, ice or other at-home treatments, it may be time to work with an orthopedic specialist to determine the cause of your pain and treatment that’s best for you.

Here are two of the most common causes of shoulder pain:

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a grouping of tendons and muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint. This tissue tends to be injured in one of two ways:

  1. Wear and tear over time due, in part, to repetitive activities like baseball and tennis or repetitive motions around the house or on the job, such as swinging a hammer or painting. These activities can cause irritation and inflammation which may be diagnosed as tendonitis in the rotator cuff, or as impingement, when the inflammation causes the tendons or bursa to become pinched. People may report an achy pain that disrupts their daily activities as well as their sleep.
  2. A sudden, traumatic situation, such as a sports injury, collision or a FOOSH (fall onto an outstretched hand). These injuries often result in a tear of one or more of this group of muscles, which can vary in severity depending on the level of trauma. Impingement may also occur. Many patients report more severe throbbing pain when their rotator cuff is torn suddenly.

Can a rotator cuff tear heal on its own?

Regardless of the cause or severity, rotator cuff tears typically do not heal on their own, and only surgery can repair the torn tissue. This is important if your goal is to return to a level of activity you enjoyed before the tear. However, surgery is not the answer for everyone.

Depending on age, lifestyle and goals, rest, ice and anti-inflammatory pain relievers may be able to minimize pain, while physical therapy and exercise can achieve a level of strength and range of motion that meets a patient’s needs. Maintaining range of motion is important to allow for day-to-day and self-care activities like showering and dressing.


Osteoarthritis comes with wear and tear on joints over time. It damages the smooth cartilage that covers and protects our bones. As cartilage around the shoulder and clavicle wears away, people typically experience painful bone-on-bone friction. This happens more frequently in the “AC” joint of the clavicle (AC is short for acromioclavicular).

There is no cure for arthritis in any joint, but rest, ice, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help patients manage pain, and again, physical therapy and exercises allow patients to maintain or improve range of motion to maintain some level of activity. Corticosteroid injections also temporarily reduce inflammation and pain.

When does shoulder pain mean surgery?

When a patient’s pain and/or mobility cannot be managed with non-surgical techniques, a patient and orthopedic specialist may determine together that surgery can provide the best outcome. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, an orthopedic specialist may suggest arthroscopy or arthroplasty:

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is often used for milder cases of arthritis and smaller muscle or tendon tears. A surgeon cleans out the affected joint or repairs a tear by making tiny incisions and using a fiberoptic camera to guide miniature surgical tools. This procedure does not eliminate the arthritis but can reduce pain. It may need to be repeated in the future as further damage occurs.

A partial or total shoulder replacement is known as arthroplasty and replaces damaged tissue with prosthetics. This surgery is considerably more involved and there are several methods that can be used depending on the patient’s specific circumstances. Reverse shoulder replacement, for example, is often recommended when a rotator cuff is completely torn and beyond repair.

Shoulder pain can range from inconvenient to debilitating. If you’ve been coping with shoulder pain, talk with one of our total joint specialists who diagnose and treat all types of shoulder pain. Use our easy scheduling tool to visit us at either of our convenient Colorado Springs locations.

Causes of Shoulder Weakness and Pain

Causes of shoulder pain may vary. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of all the joints in the human body. Its complexity is also its weakness, because the shoulder can become injured relatively easily.

Every time we make even the slightest motion with our arms, the shoulder is involved. And if you have arthritis, it can affect your shoulder as well as other joints.

Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you may experience shoulder pain and/or weakness, and what can be done about it.

Rotator Cuff Injury

This injury causes shoulder pain whenever you move your arm, reach, or even sleep. The injury may be a partial tear or a complete tear of a tendon in the shoulder.

The group of tendons and muscles that support the shoulder is called the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff injuries are one of the more common injuries to the shoulder.

The rotator cuff can suffer from tendonitis, tendonosis, strain, or a partial or complete tear of the tendon. This injury can also develop from repetitive stress on the shoulder. This injury can cause a stabbing, sharp pain or weakness in the shoulder whenever you move your arm in a certain way.

Shoulder pain when lying down is a standard indicator for a rotator cuff injury. The pressure of the arm being pulled flat causes the inflamed tendon to react, creating painful sensations from inside the joint.

Rotator cuff impingement occurs when irritation, inflammation, or compression of the bursae or tendons in the shoulder causes them to be pinched. This can happen due to overuse-type injury or traumatic injury.

Tear in the Glenoid Labrum

The glenoid labrum is a ring of cartilage in the shoulder that provides cushioning in the shoulder socket. This permits the ball of the shoulder to rotate freely.

The labrum performs two tasks. First, it supports the socket for the femoral head (the ball-shaped top of the femur, or upper arm bone). Second, it helps hold the structures of the shoulder together, giving it stability.

A single trauma, such as a dislocation of the shoulder, can cause the labrum to be torn completely or partially off the socket. There are varying severities of labrum tears; when it tears completely off the socket, the entire labrum must be surgically reattached.

Another type of labrum tear is damage to where the biceps tendon meets the labrum. Therefore, this type of injury usually involves a portion of the labrum as well as the tendon. 


Often just called “arthritis,” osteoarthritis in the shoulder can cause a person to be unable to reach behind them due to excruciating pain if it is attempted. Whether you are trying to put on a belt or scratch your back, shoulder arthritis can be debilitating if it is not addressed by a physician. 

Shoulder Doctors in Colorado Springs

All of these causes of shoulder pain and weakness are quite common, and they have been treated successfully for decades. Conventional methods of physical therapy and pain-relief injections can work wonders, and surgery can alleviate the pain if the injury or arthritis is severe.

If you are in Colorado and are suffering from shoulder pain or another kind of musculoskeletal injury, contact our team today at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence. Call us at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online, and let us help you find relief from your shoulder pain.