A shoulder specialist is an orthopaedic doctor who diagnoses and treats a full range of shoulder injuries and conditions. These specialty-trained doctors often care for patients who have a fractured clavicle (collarbone), a dislocation, or a rotator cuff tear. Many shoulder injuries happen because the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with a wide range of motion, which makes it prone to different types of injuries, including rotator cuff injuries.
A rotator cuff tear is one of the more common types of shoulder injuries and involves the tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tears are particularly common in sports, especially among baseball and tennis players who place significant strain on their shoulders. However, they can happen to anyone, not just athletes.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a shoulder doctor may recommend a nonsurgical treatment option, such as icing the area, taking anti-inflammatory medication, or getting a cortisone injection, to reduce the shoulder pain. If shoulder surgery is required, there are different procedures a shoulder surgeon may use, such as arthroscopic surgery, rotator cuff repair, or shoulder reconstruction.
When surgery is required, it can sometimes be performed using a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure. Arthroscopic shoulder surgery involves the surgeon inserting tiny instruments, including one with a camera, into small incisions. This allows the surgeon to view and treat the problem without disrupting the surrounding tissue as much.
After a shoulder surgery, such as shoulder replacement or shoulder arthroscopy, there is no guarantee a patient will be completely pain-free; however, most patients experience less pain and gain an overall better quality of life after surgery.
Know When It’s Time to Get Help
If you are experiencing any of the types of shoulder pain described below—especially if you have been experiencing it for more than a few days—schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist or orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder care.
- Difficulty using the shoulder as well as lifting the elbow
- Muscle weakness
- Popping or grinding, bone-on-bone sensations
- Shoulder instability
- Shoulder pain in addition to elbow pain
- Unable to sleep on the side with the affected shoulder
A shoulder doctor may diagnose you with one of the following shoulder conditions or injuries:
- Acromioclavicular separation
- Calcific tendonitis
- Frozen shoulder
- Rotator cuff tear
- Shoulder dislocation
- Shoulder impingement
- Sports-related injury
- Sternoclavicular joint injury
- Tennis elbow
Professional Orthopaedic Associates: Get Back to a Life Without Limits
Since 1985, we have been offering excellence in orthopaedic and sports medicine care. Our fellowship-trained and specialty-trained shoulder doctors and surgeons, Dr. Harry Bade, Dr. Christopher Johnson, Dr. Brian Torpey, Dr. Gregg Foos, Dr. David Gentile, Dr. Mark Gesell, Dr. Ryan Plyler, Dr. Allen Nicholson, and Dr. Gregory Parker, have years of expertise in diagnosing and treating complex shoulder injuries and conditions. Together, they draw from this combined knowledge base to bring the very best to our shoulder patients.
Additionally, our shoulder doctors and surgeons value and are committed to ongoing professional education. Our shoulder specialists attend courses and proactively learn the latest procedures and surgical techniques. They also serve as thought leaders, lecturing and publishing information about orthopaedic treatment and care. Our shoulder surgeons are some of the most highly respected in our region.