Knowing about the leading causes of shoulder pain — and how they happen — can help you prevent some of the damage in the future. Here are the top shoulder injuries and conditions to know.

You trust your shoulders for upward and outward reaching, throwing, tossing, and countless other movements both big and small. When shoulder pain occurs, stiffness and immobility tend to follow. Symptoms like these can become a major inconvenience in any lifestyle.

Our team of orthopedic experts at North Point Orthopaedics in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, evaluate and treat a wide variety of shoulder injuries and damage from degenerative joint diseases. With the correct treatment, you can preserve your full range of mobility and minimize your shoulder pain and discomfort.

While you can’t always predict a shoulder injury or do anything to prevent pain in the joint, you can learn about the injuries and conditions to which your shoulder is most susceptible. Our experts routinely treat shoulder pain from these leading causes:

Rotator cuff injuries

These are the leading causes of shoulder pain, bringing nearly 2 million Americans to the doctor’s office each year. The rotator cuff is a network of muscles and tendons covering your shoulder joint, which are responsible for your ability to lift and rotate your arm.

These tendons can accumulate damage either suddenly or gradually. Tiny tears develop on the tendons from overuse, which leads to pain and inflammation. Additionally, rotator cuff tears can cause damage to the lubricating sac called the bursa, which sits between the rotator cuff muscles and the underlying bone.

When a rotator cuff injury happens suddenly, it’s usually because you either fell onto your outstretched arm in an attempt to catch yourself or you lifted up something heavy. You can also get this common type of shoulder injury because of a shoulder dislocation, broken collarbone or another acute injury affecting nearby structures.

Shoulder arthritis

There are many types of arthritis, all of which cause pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness. The most common type of shoulder arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs because of chronic wear and tear inside the joint.

Pain from osteoarthritis in the shoulder only gets worse over time if you don’t work with orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and other providers to manage the condition. While your instinct may be to avoid moving your shoulder to minimize pain, this is counterproductive and can restrict the joint’s motion.

Bone problems

Not all bone problems affecting the shoulder are alike, but they share the commonality of originating in any of the bones that make up your shoulder. Our experts routinely treat shoulder pain from bone issues like:


A fracture is a broken bone, which can be anything from a tiny hairline crack to a bone that has shattered into multiple pieces. Fracturing any of the bones in the joint can lead to a painful shoulder, including your scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collarbone), or humerus (upper arm bone).


Osteoporosis causes your bones to get weaker and more porous over time, which leaves you susceptible to fractures. While early phases of osteoporosis might not have any symptoms, a bone density scan can tell you how dense your bones are and whether or not you should take extra care to avoid fractures.

Other possible problems

Any shoulder injury, whether acute or chronic, can lead to shoulder instability or dislocation. This happens when the “ball” part of the joint comes out of the “socket.” It happens due to loose or damaged muscles and tendons.

Our team explores every possibility while diagnosing shoulder pain or recurrent dislocations, including the conditions we’ve already mentioned in this blog as well as:

  • Tears of the labrum, cartilage found in the shoulder joint
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Nerve injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis

Shoulder issues can come from improper shoulder mechanics, but they can also come from overuse or injuries that happen on a whim. Our team helps you restore your joint function and reduce pain to a minimum.

Schedule an appointment over the phone or online at either of our offices for a comprehensive evaluation of your painful shoulder today.

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