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Several Conditions That Can Cause Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is an uncomfortable experience and can limit your general range of motion. Given how essential your shoulders are to transmitting power and leverage throughout your arms, and considering the relative sensitivity of the rotator cuff system, you don’t have to be negligent to encounter shoulder pain.

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, it’s important to speak to an orthopedic specialist who can perform a comprehensive evaluation and make suggestions to help you.

If your shoulder pain is dull, returns in cycles, won’t go away, or limits the natural motion of your arms, it’s important to seek a medical professional at your earliest convenience.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the possible causes of your shoulder pain.

Muscle Strains & Sprains

Most everyone has encountered a muscle strain or sprain at some point in their lives, but it can feel twice as uncomfortable when localized in the shoulder. This often occurs due to improper use of muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. For example, if you try to lift heavy weights without the proper form, or if the soreness develops over time due to repetitive strain.

Strains and sprains can often feel like dull aches and weakness or even sharp pain when you try to use your shoulder muscles in the same way they were damaged. In any case, it’s always best to see a specialist. Over-the-counter painkillers can help you deal with the immediate effects, although it’s important to disclose their use to your healthcare professional.


Bursitis involves the inflammation of the bursa sacs, which are known to cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Minor trauma or injury can impede them, but other issues that cause inflammation can also be a direct contributing factor. 

Bursitis can lead to pain, a limited range of motion, or even trouble sleeping. The sooner the presence of bursitis is recognized, the more of a positive and preventative effect treatment will have.

Labral Tears

Labral tears are quite common in many forms of athleticism, but especially in sports where constant over-shoulder motion is required, such as when swimming competitively or pitching a ball as hard as you can. For this reason, baseball players commonly find themselves suffering from this condition.

Jerking and overexertion are the main culprits, as each cause damage to the labrum, which is a ring of cartilage surrounding the shoulder socket. This can lead to persistent shoulder pain over the years if a person isn’t careful, which can then require extensive therapeutic recovery programs or even surgery. In extreme cases, it can even mark the end of an individual’s athletic career. As treatment is so essential to the recovery of your shoulder joint, it’s important to seek help from a specialist as soon as you can.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff injuries are among some of the most common medical issues affecting the shoulder. This is because this group of muscles and tendons provides stability and facilitates movement of the shoulder itself. In other words, if it affects the shoulder, the rotator cuff is likely involved in at least some way.

Moreover, because they’re not necessarily congruent with dull and prolonged pain, rotator cuff tears can sometimes go unnoticed for years. If your shoulder is weak, has a reduced range of motion, or struggles to support weight (for example, during an ergonomic bench press weightlifting motion), then a rotator cuff injury could be present..


Arthritis can affect many areas of the body, including the shoulder region. It often develops over time and can be caused by anything from genetic factors up to repeated use of the joint. Arthritis refers to the wearing away of the cartilage that cushions the bones. Over time, this can lead to pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. 

Thankfully, arthritis can be managed with various treatments. If you seek timely medical intervention, then a specialist can help improve your quality of life. The extent to which treatment is given will depend on the severity of arthritis, but may become more comfortable with the use of therapies, medications, and additional types of care.

Fractures or Dislocations

Typically the most obvious and easy to identify shoulder issue, fractures or dislocations can cause significant pain and indicate intensive trauma to the shoulder joint. These injuries can cause functional impairment and require extensive medical intervention or surgical treatment to correct. Fractures or dislocations can occur in many ways, but they almost always point to a singular event or accident that caused the injury.

In some cases, correct treatment may be levied and require months or even years of rest to secure full function back to normal. In other cases, the joint might never fully recover, but can still be utilized in certain ways. If you suspect a fracture or dislocation, don’t book an appointment to a specialist; instead, immediately call an ambulance or visit an emergency room as soon as possible.

Dislocation in younger athletes can lead to a higher chance of repeating dislocation if not managed properly, and so long-term corrective care, treatment, and rehabilitation will be required.

Take Your First Step To Recovery - Contact Orthopedic Specialists of Idaho Today!

Our dedicated team of orthopedic professionals is committed to helping you understand the root cause of your shoulder pain and providing tailored solutions to alleviate your discomfort.

We seek to implement preventive and long-term treatments that unlock your quality of life through preventing shoulder injuries or pain from becoming worse, while also pursuing full recovery. Orthopedic Specialists of Idaho is proud to serve athletes, professionals, students, and individuals from all walks of life, seeking to empower and educate our patients to reach their best health.

Please call us today at 208-522-6662 or use our contact page to find our address and visit us in person! We’d be delighted to speak to you and curate the comprehensive treatment plan you need.

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