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Shoulder & Elbow

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body enabling a wide range of movements including, forward flexion, abduction, adduction, external rotation, internal rotation, and 360-degree circumduction.

Thus, the shoulder joint is considered the most insecure joint of the body but the support of ligaments, muscles and tendons function to provide the required stability.

Elbow Anatomy

The elbow is a complex joint formed by the articulation of three bones –the humerus, radius and ulna. The elbow joint helps in bending or straightening of the arm to 180 degrees and assists in lifting or moving objects.

Conditions

Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is the group of tendons in the shoulder joint providing support and enabling wider range of motion. Major injury to these tendons may result in tear of these tendons and the condition is called a rotator cuff tear. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle-aged adults and older individuals.

Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder suggests a shoulder injury, which is more common in athletes participating in sports such as swimming, tennis, pitching and weightlifting. The injuries are caused due to the over usage or repetitive motion of the arms.

Subluxation

The shoulder is a highly mobile ball and socket joint. The ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) is held in place at the socket (glenoid) of the shoulder blade (scapula) by a group of ligaments. A partial dislocation of the shoulder joint is termed as a subluxation. This means the ball has partially moved out of the glenoid as opposed to a dislocation, where the ball completely moves out of the glenoid.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is the condition of inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder joint. It is one of the most common causes of pain in the adult shoulder. The shoulder is a 'ball-and-socket' joint. A ‘ball' at the top of the upper arm bone, humerus, fits neatly into a 'socket’, called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade, scapula. Shoulder impingement is also called as swimmer’s shoulder, tennis shoulder, or rotator cuff tendinitis.

SLAP Tears

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. A 'ball' at the top of the upper arm bone (the humerus) fits neatly into a 'socket', called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade (scapula). The term SLAP (superior –labrum anterior-posterior) lesion or SLAP tear refers to an injury of the superior labrum of the shoulder. The labrum is a ring of fibrous cartilage surrounding the glenoid for stabilization of the shoulder joint.

Arthritis of the Shoulder

The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Damage of the cartilage in the shoulder joint causes shoulder arthritis. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat and pain.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis is a condition characterized by pain and loss of motion in shoulder joint. It is more common in older adults aged between 40 and 60 years and is more common in women than men.

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability is a chronic condition that causes frequent dislocations of the shoulder joint.

The common symptoms of shoulder instability include pain with certain movements of the shoulder; popping or grinding sound may be heard or felt, swelling and bruising of the shoulder may be seen immediately following subluxation or dislocation.

Shoulder Joint Tear

The shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that enables the smooth gliding and thereby the movements of arms. However, it is inherently unstable because of the shallow socket. A soft rim of cartilage, the labrum lines the socket and deepens it so that it accommodates the head of the upper arm bone better.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The thoracic outlet is a small passageway leading from the base of the neck to the armpit and arm. This small area contains many blood vessels, nerves and muscle. When this passageway becomes compressed the condition is termed as thoracic outlet syndrome. This rare condition is characterized by burning pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak hand grip. Thoracic outlet syndrome generally occurs within the age group of 20 to 60 years and is more common in females than in males.

Dislocated Shoulder

The dislocation might be a partial dislocation (subluxation) or a complete dislocation causing pain and shoulder joint instability. Shoulder joint often dislocates in the forward direction (anterior instability) and it may also dislocate in backward or downward direction.

Most common symptoms of shoulder dislocation are pain and shoulder joint instability. Other symptoms such as swelling, numbness and bruising may occur.

Little League Shoulder

Little league shoulder is an injury to the growth plate of the upper arm bone in the shoulder joint of children. It is caused due to overuse from pitching or throwing, especially in children between the ages of 10 to 15 years. This condition is mostly seen in baseball pitchers, but children in other sports who use improper throwing action are also at risk.

Bicep Tendon Tear at Elbow

Biceps tendon tears at the elbow: although two tendons attach the biceps muscle to the bone at the shoulder, only one tendon attaches it to the elbow. This is known as the distal biceps tendon. Tears of the distal biceps tendon are usually complete and the muscle is separated from the bone. Tears of the distal biceps tendon most often result from a sudden injury or lifting a heavy object also called an “eccentric” load.

Bicep Tendon Rupture

The biceps muscle is present on the front side of your upper arm and functions to help you bend and rotate your arm.

A biceps tendon rupture can either be partial, where it does not completely tear the tendon, or complete, where the biceps tendon completely splits in two and is torn away from the bone.

Burners and Stingers

Burners and stingers are common neck or shoulder injuries characterized by intense burning or stinging pain which can radiate from the neck to the hand. They are caused by sudden movement or a direct blow to the neck resulting in an injury to the brachial plexus.

Elbow Dislocation

Elbow dislocations usually occur when a person falls onto an outstretched hand. Elbow dislocations can also occur from any traumatic injury such as motor vehicle accidents. When the elbow is dislocated you may have severe pain, swelling, and lack of ability to bend your arm. Sometimes you cannot feel your hand, or may have no pulse in your wrist because arteries and nerves run along your elbow may be injured.

Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

The elbow contains a large, curved, pointy bone at the back called the olecranon, which is covered by the olecranon bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows smooth movement between the bone and overlying skin. Inflammation of this bursa leads to a condition called olecranon bursitis.

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome)

When the elbow is bent, the ulnar nerve can stretch and catch on the bony bump. When the ulnar nerve is compressed or entrapped, the nerve can tear and become inflamed leading to a variety of symptoms, called cubital tunnel syndrome.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans is a joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone separates from the end of the bone because of inadequate blood supply. These fragments may be localized, or may detach and fall into the joint space causing pain and joint instability.

Elbow Sprain

Elbow sprain is an injury to the soft tissues of the elbow. It is caused due to stretching or tearing (partial or full) of the ligaments, which support the elbow joint. Ligaments are a group of fibrous tissues that connect one bone to another in the body.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the common name used for the elbow condition called lateral epicondylitis. It is an overuse injury that causes small tears of the tendons that attach to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). It is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions at the forearm that leads to inflammation and micro tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle.

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, also called Medial Epicondylitis, is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions in the forearm that leads to inflammation and micro-tears in the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle. The medial epicondyle is the bony prominence that is felt on the inside of the elbow.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow Fractures: Fracture is a common injury to the elbow. Elbow fractures may result from a fall onto an outstretched wrist, a direct impact to the elbow or a twisting injury. Elbow fractures may cause severe pain, swelling, tenderness and painful movements.If a fracture is suspected, immediate intervention by your doctor is necessary. Surgery is often required if a bony displacement is observed.

Little League Elbow

Little league elbow also called as medial apophysitis, is an overuse condition that occurs when there is overstress or injury to the inside portion of the elbow. It is commonly seen in children involved in sports activities that require repetitive throwing such as baseball.

Nursemaid’s Elbow

Dislocation of the radius bone present in the elbow is called nursemaid’s elbow. This condition is very common among children below 5 years of age as their bones and muscles are still in the developing stage.

Elbow Pain

Elbow dislocation occurs when the bones that make up the joint are forced out of alignment. Elbow dislocations usually occur when a person falls onto an outstretched hand. Elbow dislocations can also occur from any traumatic injury such as motor vehicle accidents. When the elbow is dislocated you may have severe pain, swelling, and lack of ability to bend your arm.

Fractures/ Injuries

Shoulder Trauma

Shoulder injuries most commonly occur in athletes participating in sports such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. The injuries are caused due to the over usage or repetitive motion of the arms.

Procedures

Shoulder Injections

Ultrasound guided injection is a minimally invasive procedure used for treating various musculoskeletal painful conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis and neuritis or to perform cyst aspiration.

It is also an excellent tool for guiding the placement of needles for both diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes.

Shoulder Joint Replacement

When the cartilage is damaged, the two bones rub against each other resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness of the joint (osteoarthritis).

Total shoulder replacement surgery is performed to relieve these symptoms. In this surgery, the damaged articulating parts of the shoulder joint are removed and replaced with artificial prostheses.

Partial Shoulder Replacement

Partial shoulder replacement, also called shoulder hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure during which the upper bone in the arm (humerus) is replaced with a prosthetic metal implant, whereas the other half of the shoulder joint (glenoid or socket) is left intact. This surgical procedure is indicated in severe, and rare conditions of shoulder osteoarthritis in which the only the humeral head or ball of the joint is damaged.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement, is an advanced surgical technique specifically designed for rotator cuff tear arthropathy, a condition where the patient suffers from both shoulder arthritis and a rotator cuff tear.

Revision Shoulder Replacement

Total shoulder replacement is the replacement of the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid cavity (cavity of the shoulder blade) into which the humerus fits, with artificial prostheses to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness caused due to damage of cartilage at the articulating surfaces. The procedure usually has good results, but a revision surgery may occasionally be necessary due to persistent pain, infection, stiffness, weakness, instability, hardware loosening, malposition or fracture.

Fluoroscopic Shoulder Injection – Shoulder Injection for Frozen Shoulder

Hydrodilatation is one of the latest techniques for treatment of frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by the contraction and inflammation of the joint capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. This is associated with pain, stiffness and loss of range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Arthroscopic Bankart Repair

The labrum can sometimes tear during a shoulder injury. A specific type of labral tear that occurs when the shoulder dislocates is called a Bankart tear. This is a tear to a part of the labrum called the inferior glenohumeral ligament and is common in younger patients who sustain a dislocation of the shoulder. A Bankart tear makes the shoulder prone to repeat dislocation in patients under 30 years of age.

Shoulder Labrum Reconstruction

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. A 'ball' at the top of the upper arm bone (the humerus) fits neatly into a 'socket', called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade (scapula). The labrum is a ring of fibrous cartilage surrounding the glenoid which helps in stabilizing the shoulder joint. The biceps tendon is attached inside the shoulder joint at the superior labrum of the joint. The biceps tendon is a long cord-like structure which attaches the biceps muscle to the shoulder and helps to stabilize the joint.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedure performed for joint problems. Shoulder arthroscopy is performed using a pencil-sized instrument called an Arthroscope. The arthroscope consists of a light system and camera to project images to a computer screen for your surgeon to view the surgical site. Arthroscopy is used to treat disease conditions and injuries involving the bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the shoulder joint.

Total Elbow Replacement

Elbow Joint Replacement, also referred to as Total Elbow Arthroplasty is an operative procedure to treat the symptoms of arthritis that have not responded to non-surgical treatments.

Elbow Arthroscopy

Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.

Elbow Ligament Reconstruction

Ligament reconstruction is considered in patients with ligament rupture. Your surgeon will make an incision over the elbow. Care is taken to move muscles, tendons and nerves out of the way. The donor tendon is harvested from either the forearm or below the knee. Your surgeon drills holes into the bones of the upper arm and the forearm, around the elbow joint. The donor tendon is inserted through the drilled holes in a pattern like that of the original ligament complex.

Elbow Tendon and Ligament Repair

The common conditions affecting the tendons around the elbow joint include tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow which result from an overuse injury to the tendons or result from repetitive activities such as sports, mechanical activities or weight lifting.

The ligaments around the elbow may be injured secondary to a sprain, rupture, trauma or any accident. The sprain or trauma may result from repetitive stress, overuse or a direct injury.

Elbow Contracture

Elbow contracture refers to a stiff elbow with limited range of motion. It is a common complication following elbow surgery, fractures, dislocations, and burns.

Providers

Shoulder Surgery

Elbow Surgery

Affiliations

  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital
  • Joe W. King Orthopedic Institute
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery