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Shoulder Conditions and Treatments at UPMC in Central Pa.

Shoulder pain or injury can result from strenuous use, playing sports, or repetitive movement. Certain diseases in the cervical spine can also bring about pain that travels to the shoulder.

At UPMC in Central Pa., our shoulder experts take a multidisciplinary approach to treating a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Bursitis (Shoulder Bursitis). Bursitis of the shoulder is inflammation of the bursa found between the bone at the top of the shoulder (the acromion), the upper arm bone (humerus), and the tendons and muscles. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions and lubricates areas of the body where friction is likely to occur. Examples of such areas include between two bones, between a tendon or ligament and a bone, or between bone and skin.
  • Dislocation/Subluxation. A dislocation occurs when a bone is pulled or pushed out of place (out of its normal relationship to the other bones that make up a joint). A dislocation may be caused by a direct blow to the joint, a fall, or a sudden twisting movement. Subluxation occurs when a bone is partially pulled or pushed out of place (out of its normal relationship to the other bones that make up a joint). A subluxation may be caused by a direct blow to the joint, a fall, or a sudden twisting movement.
  • Fracture. A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can range from a hairline crack in the bone to the bone being broken into two or more pieces that no longer line up correctly. A fracture may occur at the same time as other injuries, such as sprains, strains, or dislocations. Hip fractures are most commonly caused by falls.
  • Frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis). Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is stiffness, pain, and limited range of movement in your shoulder. The tissues around the joint stiffen, scar tissue forms, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful. The condition usually comes on slowly, then goes away slowly over the course of a year or more.
  • Joint Pain/Instability/Impingement. Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of different factors including, sudden injury, pinched nerves or blood vessels, bruises, sprains, strains, and more! Shoulder instability occurs when the structures that surround the shoulder joint do not work to maintain the ball within its socket. If the joint is too loose, it may slide partially out of place. Shoulder impingement occurs when connective tissue - most commonly a tendon, rubs on the shoulder blade.
  • Labral Tear. A labrum SLAP tear occurs when there is not enough cushion between your bones - specifically in the shoulder joint. The labrum is a thick band of tissue that surrounds your shoulder socket and keeps your shoulder joint stable.
  • Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful problem with the joints caused by wear and tear on the cartilage. Healthy joints help your body move, bend, and twist. But when you have arthritis, simple, everyday movements can hurt.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body's natural defense system to attack the joints. RA causes the joints to become swollen, stiff, and painful or inflamed. Overtime, this inflammation can destroy the joint tissues.
  • Rotator cuff tear. A torn rotator cuff tendon is damage to one or more of the four tendons that cover the shoulder joint. These tendons connect the rotator cuff muscles to the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder bone (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle).
  • Sprains and Strains. A sprain is an injury to the tough ropey fibers (ligaments) that connect bone to bone. Most muscle strains (pulled muscles) are caused by overstretching muscles. Strains may be minor or severe, such as a torn muscle or tendon.
  • Tendinitis. Tendinitis is inflammation of the tough, ropy fibers that connect muscles to bones.
  • Tendon Pain. Tendon pain can be caused by a number of factors.Tendons are the tough fibers that connect your muscle to your bones. Through aging, overuse or injury, these tendons can get small tears and scarring that make movement very painful.

If shoulder pain is affecting your life, we can help. We will diagnose your condition and devise a treatment plan that may first include nonsurgical options such as rest, physical therapy, injections, or over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and inflammation. But if your symptoms persist or get worse, surgical intervention may be the best option.

Getting Diagnosed

Determining the source of your pain is an important first step to effectively treating your condition. Our orthopaedic specialists use a variety of tests to arrive at a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Browse all of the orthopaedic diagnostic procedures offered at UPMC in Central Pa.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

The specialists at UPMC can diagnose and treat injuries or medical conditions that are affecting your ability to exercise, participate in sports, or maintain an active lifestyle.

Our experts treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions as well as concussion. Should you need surgery, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist.

Browse all of the non-surgical treatment options offered at UPMC in Central Pa.

Surgical Treatment Options

At UPMC in Central Pa., we specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques that decrease pain and recovery time. Most of our procedures are laparoscopic and use robotic capabilities, resulting in smaller incisions and minimal blood loss and scarring.

Types of surgical procedures for the shoulder include:

  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Shoulder resurfacing
  • Fracture repair
  • Joint replacement

We provide surgical care for a range of common and complex orthopaedic conditions. See the other conditions we treat with orthopaedic surgery. 

Number One in Joint Replacement Surgery

Should you need a shoulder replacement, you can be confident in the experts at UPMC in Central Pa. We perform more joint replacement surgeries than any other hospital in the state. Our comprehensive program offers complete patient care, from presurgery classes through rehabilitation.

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