What could be Causing my Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is quite common. The joint is prone to injuries and other issues as it is a highly mobile joint. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. It is joined to the rest of the body with the help of the collarbone and scapula. Any issues related to these bones or their attachments may also make the shoulder joint unstable and prone to painful issues. 


Below are some of the common causes of shoulder pain


Fracture of one of the shoulder bones: Three bones, the humeral head (bone of the upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collar bone), form the shoulder joint. Fractures of the scapula or clavicle are most likely to affect the shoulder and cause pain. Clavicle or collar bone fractures are common and, fortunately, easy to identify. Such a fracture may occur due to a contact injury, like in sports1

Dislocated shoulder: In some people, due to genetics, hyperlaxity may cause the shoulder to repetitively slide out of the socket.  These patients usually present with a long history of instability and present with an insidious onset. In traumatic dislocation there is a specific injury that initially makes the shoulder dislocate which is typically very painful until reduced.  With repetitive dislocations the shoulder may come out of the socket more easily as the instability worsens.  Repetitive instability can cause osteoarthritis from the trauma of the shoulder dislocating. 

Bursitis: Bursae are fluid-filled small bags. They act like cushions and are present between the bones and ligaments. They help reduce friction between various tissues and act as shock absorbers. However, due to overuse or some disorder, they might become inflamed.  This can cause deep and dull pain in the shoulder joint. 

Frozen shoulder: The shoulder joint is closed in a capsule made of connective tissues or ligaments. However, infrozen shoulder, these ligaments become inflamed causing stiffness and pain and thus reducing the range of motion of the shoulder joint. This condition typically starts slowly and progresses over several months with the overall condition untreated lasting about a year. Early treatment of frozen shoulder helps limit the extent and length of this problem. 

Osteoarthritis: It is a disease of wear and tear and is more likely to affect middle-aged and older adults. People living with metabolic disorders are at a greater risk of developing these conditions. However, the risk is also high for sports people especially due to repetitive injury. It occurs due to loss of articular cartilage, causing increased friction when the shoulder moves which secondarily causes thickening of the joint capsule, reduced range of motion, and pain. The condition is chronic and progressive. 

Rotator cuff injury: Rotator cuff injury may be acute, like in sports, and may occur after jamming the shoulder, lifting heavy objects or falling on the shoulder. However, it may also be degenerative, which develops slowly due to repetitive lifting and overuse. People with repetitive motions are at a greater risk such as painters or electricians. It will especially cause pain when lifting or rotating your arm5 and is prone to significant pain at night.


The specialist at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are highly trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder disorders helping you get back to you.  


To conclude, the shoulder joint is highly mobile and complex, and its pain may occur for many reasons. Hence, if you are living with shoulder pain, better consult your physician or a specialist. 

Total Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers comprehensive treatment for all shoulder injuries including tears, fractures, dislocation and total or partial shoulder replacement. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you overcome shoulder pain with non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments. 


  1. Nielson J, Gerbino P. CHAPTER 26 – Shoulder Injuries. In: Frontera WR, Herring SA, Micheli LJ, Silver JK, Young TP, eds. Clinical Sports Medicine. W.B. Saunders; 2007:343-350. doi:10.1016/B978-141602443-9.50029-5 
  2. Abrams R, Akbarnia H. Shoulder Dislocations Overview. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed October 1, 2022. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459125/ 
  3. Faruqi T, Rizvi TJ. Subacromial Bursitis. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed October 1, 2022. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541096/ 
  4. Mezian K, Coffey R, Chang KV. Frozen Shoulder. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed October 1, 2022. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482162/ 
  5. May T, Garmel GM. Rotator Cuff Injury. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed October 1, 2022. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547664/