At Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic, we understand that shoulder pain can affect your ability to play sports and perform everyday tasks, such as lifting heavy objects or reaching overhead. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or injury, you can trust our experienced specialists to diagnose and treat your condition – and return you to a pain-free, active life.
Shoulder pain or injury can be caused by repetitive movement, strenuous use or playing sports. Some conditions that affect your neck and cervical spine also can cause pain that travels to your shoulders. Our experienced specialists treat a range of conditions that cause shoulder pain, including:
Because your shoulder is a complex joint that is made up of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, our specialists will take the time to conduct a thorough examination and deliver an accurate diagnosis.
In addition to discussing your symptoms and history of shoulder injuries, our specialists will ask you questions about your lifestyle, including what sports you play and what type of work you do, to try to determine the cause of your shoulder pain. To ensure the most accurate diagnosis, our specialists may also order imaging tests, including:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed images of your bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, soft tissues and other body structures.
- X-Ray. X-ray is a quick, painless imaging procedure that creates digital pictures of your bones, soft tissue and other body structures. It is typically used to diagnose broken bones and other causes of pain.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves and their echoes to create detailed images of soft tissue and other body parts.
After delivering an accurate diagnosis, our skilled specialists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Our specialists offer a range of treatments, including surgical and non-surgical options, as well as shoulder replacement procedures.
Non-surgical treatment options for your shoulder condition may include:
- Physical Therapy. Physical therapy uses a combination of special exercises, massage, heat and icing, ultrasound or electric stimulation to help you regain and/or increase strength, mobility, and function.
- Occupational Therapy. Special shoulder exercises and movement techniques will help you to improve function and perform normal daily activities.
- Injections. Injections directly into the affected area of your shoulder can help to reduce pain and swelling.
- Medications. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medicines to relieve pain and swelling.
When non-surgical treatments do not provide relief or your condition is severe, shoulder surgery may be the best option for you. If you require shoulder surgery, our board-certified surgeons are experienced at using the latest minimally invasive, or arthroscopic, techniques to treat a range of shoulder conditions.
Arthroscopic surgery involves making a small incision near the affected area and inserting a small camera mounted on a thin, flexible tube to see inside the joint. Small surgical tools are inserted through other incisions and the entire operation is broadcast on a television screen to help your surgeon guide the instruments. Surgical procedures we perform include:
- Rotator Cuff Repair. During rotator cuff repair surgery, your surgeon will repair the tear in your rotator cuff using stitches.
- Bone Spur Removal. During bone spur removal surgery, your surgeon will use a special tool to smooth areas where bone spurs have developed to prevent further tissue damage.
- Shoulder Instability Repair. Shoulder instability surgery repairs torn or stretched ligaments so they can hold your shoulder in place.
- Labral Repair. Labral repair surgery removes or repairs the damaged tissue rim surrounding your shoulder socket.
- Removal of Damaged Tissue. Removal of damaged tissue can be used to treat arthritis or small fragments of cartilage or bone called loose bodies in the shoulder joint.
If your shoulder is severely damaged, your doctor may recommend a full or partial shoulder replacement. A partial shoulder replacement only replaces the ball of the shoulder joint, while a full replacement replaces the entire shoulder joint.
During your procedure, your doctor may also cap the ends of your upper arm bone and shoulder bone with artificial plastic and/or metal surfaces and use cement to hold the components in place. Your doctor will adjust the ligaments around your new joint to allow for maximum range of motion.