Rotator Cuff: The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that help keep the shoulder joint in position and move the arm in all directions. Injury to the rotator cuff can occur from repetitive shoulder use or an acute trauma, and is often made worse with poor posture. The injury spectrum can progress from a mild irritation to a complete tear, all of which can cause pain the limits daily activities and may interfere with sleeping. Many rotator cuff injuries can be treated with non-operative treatment, such as oral medicines, injections, or physical therapy. Complete rotator cuff tears may need arthroscopic surgery to repair the tendon back to bone, which can also be done arthroscopically. Some common terms for these rotator cuff injuries are “impingement”, “rotator cuff tendonitis”, and “rotator cuff tear”.
Labrum: The labrum is a soft tissue bumper around the shoulder socket that also helps to stabilize the shoulder joint during certain motions. Labrum injuries can be degenerative (from “wear and tear”) or a distinct tear off the bone from a shoulder dislocation, such as during a fall or collision. Depending on the type and severity of the labrum injury, treatment can vary from therapy to arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum back to the bone socket. Common labrum injury terms are “labral tear”, “Bankart tear”, and “SLAP tear”.
Shoulder Arthritis: Just like many other joints in the body, the shoulder can eventually wear out and cause pain. This is because the smooth joint surfaces become rough and do not glide anymore, leading to bone spurs, pain, and shoulder stiffness, also known as “shoulder osteoarthritis”. This stiffness often leads to decrease use of the shoulder to do basic activities. Depending on the severity, shoulder arthritis can be addressed with medications, injections, therapy, and arthroscopic surgery. When these techniques no longer work to relieve the pain or improve stiffness, new developments in technology allow surgeons to replace the shoulder joint, just like a knee or hip replacement. Common terms for shoulder arthritis are “gleno-humeral arthritis” and “cuff tear arthropathy”.
Biceps tendon: The biceps tendon helps move the shoulder in a forward direction, and it runs directly through the shoulder joint. Because of this location in the shoulder, the biceps tendon is often involved in many other shoulder problems, such as labrum injuries and rotator cuff injuries. Like any tendon, the biceps tendon can have minor irritation, partial tearing, or even a complete tear. Fortunately, most biceps injuries are very treatable, either by topical creams, steroid injection, or arthroscopic surgery. Common biceps tendon injury terms are “biceps tendonitis”, “biceps subluxation” and “biceps rupture”
AC joint: The AC joint (acromio-clavicular joint) is the small joint where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the shoulder blade (scapula). This area can be injured with a fall onto the shoulder (“shoulder separation”) or from repetitive activities that irritate the joint surfaces, leading to a painful swollen prominence over the shoulder. Problems with the AC joint can be treated as simply as wearing a sling or with more involved methods, such as arthroscopic surgical treatment. Common AC joint terms include “shoulder separation”, “AC joint arthritis” or “AC joint osteolysis”.