Because the shoulder is one of the body's most mobile joints, it is susceptible to certain injuries and conditions. These problems may progress over time, or a sudden action may result in an immediate injury. Most treatments are usually conservative and non-invasive, but surgery may be indicated in some cases. Through surgery, our physicians are able to find the cause of the problem and treat it at the same time.

Common Conditions Associated With the Shoulder

Impingement Syndrome, Bursitis or Tendinitis

Impingement Syndrome can result from repeated overhead shoulder movement. This can cause aching and inflammation in the shoulder area as well as constant pain. With continued use, the pain may persist. When the tendons that connect muscle to bone in the shoulder become irritated, the area may develop tendinitis. Fluid may fill the bursa, resulting in bursitis. Treatments for Impingement Syndrome may include ice, heat, medication, physical therapy and injection therapy. If the patient's pain is not decreased to within their tolerance by conservative measures, then arthroscopic surgery may be indicated.


The cartilage covering the bone may become damaged after an injury or with age. Grinding, stiffness, pain and difficulty with use may result. Treatment options may include medication, physical therapy and in severe cases, shoulder replacement surgery.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Severe impingement or tendinitis can result in a tearing of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a network of muscles and tendons that attaches the upper arm to the shoulder blade. When these muscles and tendons are damaged or inflamed, it can become painful. Treatment follows a conservative approach for impingement with further diagnostic testing such as MRI if indicated. A discussion of the risks, benefits and alternatives of rotator cuff tear treatment helps the patient decide if they want non-operative treatment, open repair or arthroscopic repair.

Labrum Tear/Instability

Dislocation of the shoulder or an unstable joint could result in a labrum tear. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that attaches the capsule to the shoulder socket region, which provides stability. When this is damaged, you may experience "popping" or "catching" in the shoulder. Depending on your level of activity and age non-operative or operative care may be recommended. Surgery allows our physicians to identify the torn labrum and repair it.