Common Types of Shoulder Injury and Their Treatments

Did you know that the physical structures of your shoulders are all highly interconnected? In fact, when you injure your shoulder, you can affect your ligaments, tendons, several muscles, cartilage regions, and bones. Moreover, shoulder injuries are most common in professionals and overhead athletes who frequently rely on this point. This article will explore all the common types of shoulder injuries and why you should see an orthopedic shoulder & elbow surgeon in La Jolla for treatment.

 Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement occurs during arm movement when one or more of your rotator cuff tendons get pinched or trapped between your shoulder bones. It causes severe pain and swelling of the rotator cuff. Generally, this injury is most common among swimmers, basketball players, softball players, golfers, and tennis players, as they often engage in physical activities requiring frequent shoulder movement.


Non/Minimally-Invasive Options

  • Activity changes
  • Physical therapy 
  • Steroid or cortisone injections
  • Yoga and stretching


In most cases, your doctor will only consider surgery after trying non-invasive methods to no avail. Most such treatments involve shaving off bone spurs or part of your shoulder’s acromion to relieve pressure from the affected tendons.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff tears are among the most common shoulder injuries, especially among athletes and professionals like painters whose jobs include overhead motions. You can also incur this injury even if you are not active, although this scenario isn’t common. Generally, a rotator cuff tear happens when a tendon on the rotator cuff partially or entirely rips. The tear can be partial or full-thickness.

Treatment Options

Non/Minimally-Invasive Options

  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Rehabilitation
  • Shoulder biomechanics improvement
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP)


If your rotator cuff tear is untreatable through non-surgical methods, your doctor may recommend one of two surgeries: partial-tear trimming or tendon reattachment. The latter involves reattaching the torn ligament onto the bone to which it was previously attached. It is done when the tear is full-thickness. When the tear is partial, your doctor will perform partial-tear trimming, which involves shaving away the torn tissue to alleviate pain.

Other Common Shoulder Conditions

Other shoulder injuries you could sustain include:

  • Shoulder arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • SLAP tears
  • Shoulder instability

Shoulder Injury Treatment Options

Considering your shoulder is one of the most flexible parts of your body, a shoulder injury could be very restrictive and debilitating. The Upper Extremity Specialists of Ortho 1 Medical Group team understands this and offers a wide range of non-invasive and surgical treatment options. Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor may recommend:

  • Medication
  • Shoulder instability procedures
  • Compression and immobilization
  • Anti-inflammatory injections
  • Shoulder arthroplasty
  • Shoulder replacement (full or partial)
  • Reparative orthopedics

The experts also offer physical therapy to help improve your mobility, flexibility, and strength during and after the treatments mentioned above.


Your shoulder allows you the flexibility to run your day. From driving your car to cooking or taking a shower, this joint is one of the most crucial in the body, which is why injuring it can be inconvenient. If you have sustained a rotator cuff tear, shoulder impingement, or other shoulder injuries, feel free to contact Kristopher Downing, MD, to learn about your treatment options. You are guaranteed a customized treatment plan and great results.