Shoulder Pain

Part of: Bone Health

Common shoulder conditions

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that consists of 3 bones:

  1. Upper arm bone (humerus)
  2. Shoulder blade (scapula)
  3. Collarbone (clavicle)

These bones are held in a stable position by ligaments, tendons and muscles. Most shoulder problems develop in the soft tissue progressively.

Shoulder injuries may occur during sporting activities and daily activities like hanging the laundry. They may be minor or serious, depending on the injury and how long it is left untreated.

Learn more about common shoulder injuries and the orthopaedic treatments available at Gleneagles Hospital.

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Frozen shoulder (also called adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that results in loss of movement, and pain or stiffness in your shoulder. This can affect your daily activities.

Frozen shoulder is due to inflammation of the covering of the shoulder joint. The most obvious symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Limited range of movement in the shoulder

Learn more about frozen shoulder and its treatment options.

Your rotator cuff comprises a group of 4 muscles and tendons around your shoulder joint. It stabilises your joint and enables you to lift and rotate your arm.

A rotator cuff tear is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Although it can be treated through non-surgical options, serious or complete tears may require rotator cuff surgery.

Learn more about rotator cuff tear and its treatment options, such as rotator cuff surgery.

Shoulder fractures occur when an impact breaks or displaces the bones that make up the shoulder.

Symptoms of a fractured shoulder include:

  • Pain, tenderness or swelling
  • Difficulty moving your shoulder or arm
  • Discolouration or deformity at the affected area.

Learn more about fractures and its treatment options.

A shoulder dislocation occurs when the round ball at the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) comes out of its socket in the scapula (shoulder blade). It is a painful and traumatic injury that is often caused by a fall or during contact sports.

If you dislocated your shoulder:

  • You may experience intense pain, swelling or bruising, and a numbing sensation around your shoulder and arm.
  • Your shoulder will appear out of place and you will not be able to move your shoulder joint or arm.

Learn more about shoulder dislocation and its treatment options.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which there is overuse of the extensor muscles in the forearm and tears appear in the common extensor tendon.

It is a common condition that is usually caused by excessive or repetitive turning or lifting of the elbow.

Tennis elbow is characterised by:

  • Pain, tenderness or swelling on the outer part of the elbow.
  • Pain when you bend, lift, or try to extend your arm fully.

Learn more about tennis elbow and its treatment options.

What is a clavicle fracture?

The collarbone is one of the main bones in the shoulder area. A broken collarbone, also known as a clavicle fracture, is a common condition and usually accounts for 5% of all adult fractures.

What causes a clavicle fracture?

Accidental falls and excessive pressure on the shoulder can lead to a broken collarbone.

What are the symptoms of a clavicle fracture?

Symptoms of a broken collarbone include:

  • Immense pain
  • Sagging of the shoulder in a forward and downward direction
  • Bruising around the collarbone area
  • Limited arm mobility

How is a clavicle fracture diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask for details on your injury. You may need to take imaging tests to confirm the injury.

How is a clavicle fracture treated?

A clavicle fracture can usually be treated with non-surgical treatments such as an arm sling, pain medication and physiotherapy.

However, if the broken ends of the bones have significantly shifted out of place, your doctor may recommend surgery to realign and stabilise the bone.

Speak to our orthopaedic specialists to assess your condition and start your treatment.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.