Shoulder Specialist in Atlanta, GA

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Shoulder specialists are orthopedic doctors and surgeons who have chosen to focus on conditions that affect the shoulder area muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. The shoulder is the most flexible and most used joint in your body and, as such, it has to endure some pretty harsh conditions.
AdobeStock_451035542 1

The shoulder consists of three bones and several muscles, tendons, and ligaments that allow the shoulder to move as it does while at the same time remaining in the proper position. Unfortunately, the shoulder moves in such an extensive range making it especially vulnerable to injury or prone to conditions affecting the shoulder.

You may have an injury if you experience prolonged pain in or around the joint, or have difficulty completing daily tasks, like driving, or lifting your arms overhead.

If the pain lasts for more than a few days, you should consider seeing a specialist. If this sounds like the situation you’re in, give Georgia Hand, Shoulder, & Elbow a call for an appointment at one of our 2 locations.

Common Shoulder Conditions and Treatments

The shoulder consists of many tendons, ligaments, muscles, and three bones. The three bones that make up the shoulder are the humerus, scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collar bone).

The top of the scapula is called the acromion, and the bottom is known as the glenoid. The range of motion of the shoulder makes it more prone to injury.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles that drape over the head of the humerus bone and holds it in place at the glenoid of the scapula. This is the ball and socket you might think of when imagining this joint. Several different conditions can affect your rotator cuff and need treatment.

Of course, there is the dreaded rotator cuff tear, one of the more dramatic and painful rotator cuff injuries. There is also rotator cuff arthropathy, which is a combination of shoulder arthritis and a rotator cuff tear. Several other types of injury affect the shoulder as well. An orthopedic shoulder doctor is the best choice for rotator cuff injuries.

Impingement

Does your shoulder feel incredibly sore? Does it hurt the most when lifting the arm above the head or reaching upward? These symptoms may be a sign of a rotator cuff injury known as impingement, occurring when the rotator cuff rubs against part of the bone of the shoulder. 

Bursitis

The bursa lies over the muscles in the shoulder, protecting and assisting in holding the joint in the proper position. However, this can become inflamed and cause a considerable amount of pain when the joint’s rotation occurs. 

Bone Spur

The acromion may also become a point of pressure in the shoulder. When a bone spur develops here, it irritates the rotator cuff considerably. This will cause pain and also inflammation. The area affected is usually toward the top of the shoulder.

Treatments

An orthopedic shoulder specialist should treat all rotator cuff conditions and injuries as soon as possible. If not, there is a risk that they may progressively get worse and could cause catastrophic damage later.

Treatments for these conditions include:

  • Resting the affected area
  • Medications, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Physical or occupational therapy to strengthen muscles
  • Injection of a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and promote healing

 

Hopefully, the injury will be diagnosed and treated before surgery is needed. However, if noninvasive treatments are unsuccessful, due to the circumstances or exact location of an injury, surgery may be required.

Usually, shoulder surgery is arthroscopic, with a couple of small incisions to allow the doctor to fix the problem minimally invasively. Surgery is almost inevitable in the case of a rotator cuff tear.

Sports Shoulder Injury

Athletes demand more from their bodies than others. As an athlete, you need to have strong shoulders. 

Common shoulder injuries caused by sports are muscle tears and strains, as well as shoulder instability, dislocation, and fracture. 

Treatment strategies include:

  • Use of a brace or splint to stabilize the shoulder
  • Practicing strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Prescription of NSAIDs for inflammation
  • Physical or occupational therapy 
  • Corticosteroid injections into the affected area
  • Possible surgery depending on the severity of the injury

 

If you have suffered from a sports-related injury, effective recovery starts with a proper examination by a doctor to assess the extent of the damage. Any physical activity could cause these injuries. Our Atlanta orthopedic specialists know how to help if you’re in the area.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Dislocation

You will know if your shoulder is dislocated. Whether it is a partial or complete dislocation, the one unifying factor is pain. When a dislocation occurs, the shoulder bones are forced from their normal position, and you should seek immediate medical attention. 

Symptoms will include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Joint deformation
  • Lump or bump at the site of dislocation
  • Torn muscles surrounding the joint

 

A trained medical professional will perform a reduction to set the bone back where they were before the dislocation. Usually, a shoulder specialist is the best choice.

Dislocation is a common sports injury. The wide range of motion creates unique vulnerabilities that other joints don’t have. So be careful when you fall or play a sport where your shoulder may suffer a blow.

When Should You See an Orthopedic Shoulder Specialist?

An orthopedic shoulder specialist should see you when you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. This is especially true if you are experiencing prolonged pain for more than a few days or if the pain or motility restrictions caused by your shoulder are affecting daily tasks.

For example, if you have trouble getting dressed, brushing your teeth, or brushing your hair, your shoulder might need an orthopedic shoulder doctor to help assess the problem

We use physical assessment, X-rays, and sometimes even MRI imaging to see the full scope of the shoulder condition and diagnose you properly.

If any of the mentioned symptoms affect you, it might be time to see an orthopedic shoulder specialist. 

Call us today at Georgia Hand, Shoulder, & Elbow, to schedule an appointment at our Atlanta or Marietta, GA location!

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD