Separated shoulder is damage to the ligaments connecting the collarbone to the shoulder blade. This is one of the most common injuries from a fall. Separate shoulder can range in severity. Mild separated shoulder involves stretched ligaments, while a severe injury may involve a torn ligament. Symptoms of separated shoulder include pain, weakness in the arm or shoulder, bruising, limited range of motion, and swelling on the top of the shoulder. Treatment consists of rest, applying ice to reduce swelling and pain, and physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary if your injury is severe or your pain persists.
The rotator cuff is the collection of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of these tendons either partially or fully tears, and separates from the humerus. These injuries commonly occur as a result of trauma to the shoulder from a fall. In car accidents, these injuries are suffered when the driver tries to brace for impact by holding the steering wheel. Symptoms for torn rotator cuffs include intense pain, snapping sensation, weakness in the arm, difficulty raising the arm, and a clicking or popping sound when moving the arm. Treatment consists of rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, potential steroid injections, and avoiding activities that cause shoulder pain. If your pain persists after this conservative treatment, surgery may be required.
A fractured collarbone or clavicle is a fracture of the bone connecting the breastbone to the shoulder. In falls, these injuries occur when you fall on your shoulder or your outstretched hand. These fractures can be quite painful, especially when trying to move the arm or shoulder. Other symptoms include swelling, tenderness, shoulder stiffness, and a grinding or crackling sound when moving the shoulder. Treatment consists of immobilizing the arm by wearing an arm sling, rest, over the counter pain medication, and physical therapy. If the fracture is severe, surgery may be required.
The labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket and provides shoulder stability. The most common type of labrum tear is a SLAP tears, which occur at the front of the arm where the bicep meets the shoulder. These injuries are caused by a fall on an outstretched hand or direct trauma to the shoulder in an accident. Symptoms for this injury include intense pain, a catching or grinding sensation, decreased range of motion, and decreased strength in shoulder. Treatment consists of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and immobilizing the shoulder with an arm sling. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend surgery.