What is considered a serious shoulder injury?

Answered by Cody Janus

A serious shoulder injury can vary in severity and can result from various causes, such as sports injuries, falls, or accidents. In this context, a pop in the shoulder, accompanied by severe pain, a bump on the top of the shoulder, or weakness when trying to lift the arm, should be considered a potential serious shoulder injury. These symptoms may indicate a range of conditions, including:

1. Dislocation: A pop in the shoulder could be indicative of a dislocation, where the upper arm bone (humerus) comes out of its socket (glenoid). This can cause intense pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. It may be necessary to visit a shoulder doctor to have the shoulder relocated and to address any associated damage.

2. Rotator cuff tear: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. A sudden pop or tearing sensation in the shoulder, accompanied by severe pain and weakness, could indicate a tear in one or more of these tendons. This injury may require medical intervention, such as physical therapy or, in severe cases, surgical repair.

3. Labral tear: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket, providing stability to the joint. A pop in the shoulder, along with pain, a bump on the top of the shoulder, and a feeling of shoulder instability, could suggest a labral tear. This injury may require further evaluation by a shoulder specialist, as treatment options can vary depending on the extent of the tear.

4. Fracture: A severe injury, such as a fall or trauma, can result in a shoulder fracture. A pop in the shoulder, accompanied by intense pain, swelling, and an inability to move the arm, could indicate a possible fracture. It is important to seek immediate medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment, which may involve immobilization or surgery.

5. Shoulder impingement: Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed or irritated between the shoulder blade and the top of the upper arm bone. This condition can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion. While it may not be as immediately serious as a dislocation or fracture, it is still important to consult a shoulder doctor to address the underlying cause and prevent further damage.

If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect a serious shoulder injury, it is crucial to schedule a visit with a shoulder doctor for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. They will be able to assess the extent of the injury, provide appropriate treatment options, and guide you through the recovery process. Remember, early intervention can often lead to better outcomes and prevent long-term complications.