Shoulder Instability Or Dislocations

shoulder instability anatomy

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Shoulder is the most mobile joint of the body. This allows you to lift your arm, rotate your arm and lift your arm over your head. It’s possible to have a greater range of motion with less stability.

How

Shoulder instability

This happens when the humerus head (the upper arm bone) is forced out of the shoulder’s cavity. Usually this happens as a result of a sudden traumatic injury.

Once the shoulder is dislocated, the shoulder is vulnerable to repeat. When the shoulder is loose and slips several times, it’s called a chronic shoulder instability.

The shoulder is made of 3 bones : humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone).

Dislocation shoulder

shoulder dislocation anatomy

This may be partial, which means that the arm’s ball partially comes out from the cavity. This is called a subluxation. This can be complete which means that the arm’s ball comes out completely from the cavity.

Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic shoulder instability are :

  • Pain caused by the shoulder injury

  • Repeated shoulder’s dislocation

  • Repeated instance of the shoulder giving out

  • A persistent sensation of the shoulder that is loose, slipping out of the joint or hanging.

Diagnosis

Specific tests help assess shoulder instability (including general relaxation of ligaments). A doctor may prescribe imaging tests such as X-rays, CT Scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis and identify other problems.

Treatment

First, chronic shoulder instability treated with nonsurgical options. If these options don’t relieve pain and instability, surgery may be needed.

Nonsurgical treatment

shoulder dislocation treatment non surgical

Generally, it often takes several months of nonsurgical treatment before success can be assessed. Nonsurgical treatments includes :

  • Activity modification

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication

  • Physical therapy

Surgical treatment

shoulder dislocation treatment surgery bankart repair

Often, surgery is often required to repair torn or stretched ligaments so that they can maintain the shoulder joint in place.

Bankart lesions (tearing of the front labrum from the cavity) can be repaired surgically using suture anchors to reattach the ligaments to the bone.

Arthroscopy => Soft tissues of the shoulder can be repaired using tiny instruments and small incisions. It’s a procedure that is done the same day or outpatient. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon examines the inside of the shoulder with a small camera and performs the operation with special instruments.

Open surgery => These are patients who require open surgical intervention. This involves making a wider incision on the shoulder and performing the repair under direct visualization.

Rehabilitation

After surgery, the shoulder can be temporarily immobilized with a sling. When the sling is removed, it’s essential to do ligament rehabilitation exercises. These exercises improve the range of motion of the shoulder and avoid scarring during ligament healing. Thereafter, exercises for strengthening the shoulder will be added in the rehabilitation program.

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-Steph

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Rotator Cuff Tears

rotator cuff tear anatomy shoulder

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles and their tendons that together form a « cuff » around the head of the humerus (upper end of the arm). The 4 muscle, originate from the scapula (shoulder blade), are upraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Tendons of each muscle fit on the humerus tuberosity.

Rotator cuff’s functions :

  • Lift the arm

  • Turn the arm

  • Stabilize the humerus in the joint

Causes

rotator cuff tear anatomy

The causes of a rotator cuff tear can be an acute injury such as a fall or because of chronic wear with tendon degeneration. For people over 40 years old, the pinching of the tendon on the underside of the scapula may participate in tearing.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of rotator cuff tears is based on an examination and/or diagnosis study such as a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosis early on in the first symptoms and rotator cuff’s treatment can help to boost the treatment’s results.

Treatment

Goals treatment are to relieve pain and restore strength to the injured shoulder. Several tears in rotator cuff can be treated without surgery. Anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections and physical therapy can all be beneficial in treating the symptoms of a tear in the cuff.

Even though a full-thickness tear needs to be cured with surgery, it’s possible to use non-surgical treatments to have a satisfactory function in some cases.

Surgery

rotator cuff tear anatomy surgery

Surgery is recommended if there is persistent pain or shoulder weakness that doesn’t improve with non-surgical treatment. Often patients who have surgery indicate nocturnal pain and difficulty using the arm for lifting and reaching. Many will indicate persistent symptoms despite several months of treatment and limited use of the arm.

Surgery is also recommended for active people who use the arm for overhead work or sports.

Surgical options

The type of repair performed is based on the findings at surgery. A partial tear my necessarily only a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridment. A full-thickness tear with the tendon torn from its insertion on the humerus is repaired directly on the bone.

3 techniques are used for rotator cuff repair :

  • Open repair (through a traditional incision)

  • Mini-open repair (partially assisted by a camera view, with a smaller incision)

  • Arthroscopic (performed with only a small camera inserted through multiple small puncture wounds)

Recovery and rehabilitation process

Whether for the treatment of non-surgical and surgical rotator cuff tear, rehabilitation has a very important role. Usually recovery is at least 6 months or more depending on the extent of the tear.

When there is a tear, there is frequently a loss of shoulder movement. An exercise or physical therapy program is needed to restore strength and improve shoulder function.

Although surgery repairs the defect of the tendon, the muscles around the arm remain weak and an important effort is necessary in the rehabilitation so that the procedure is a success. After surgery, a complete re-education can last several months.

Subscribe to my newsletter and share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Acromioclavicular Joint Injury

acromioclavicular joint injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Acromioclavicular joint is a joint between the clavicle and the scapula. Acromion is a continuation of the scapular spine and hooks over anteriorly. It articulate with the clavicle (collar bone ) to form the acromioclavicular joint.

Problems types

The most common problems are arthritis, fracture and separation. Arthritis is characterized by a loss of joint’s cartilage. Arthritis of acromioclavicular joint is common with weight lifter, especially with bench press and a little less with shoulder press. When there is a problem with the rotator cuff, it’s possible that there is also acromioclavicular joint’s arthritis.

Acromioclavicular separation

acromioclavicular joint injury type grade

When there is an acromioclavicular joint separation, it means that the ligament that connects the acromion and clavicle is damaged and that the 2 structures don’t align properly. Separation’s state can be weak or severe, that is why there is a system of « grade » according to which ligament is torn and the severity of the tear.

Grade I Injury – This is the weakest damage and the acromioclavicular joint is still aligned.

Grade II Injury – This is an average damage. Ligaments are only stretched but not fully torn. In case of stress (physical effort), the acromioclavicular joint becomes painful and unstable.

Grade III Inury – This is a serious damage. Ligaments are completely torn and the collar bone is no longer attached to the scapula, which creates a visible deformity.

Treatment of acromioclavicular joint arthritis

If the rest, ice, medications and change of the training program (changing the exercises) don’t work, the next step is a shot of cortisone. A shot of cortisone in the joint may have calmed the pain and may be permanently swollen. As each individual is unique, the effects may vary and it’s possible that it doesn’t swell permanently.

If non-surgical methods fail, it’s possible to perform a surgical operation. The pain is localized at the bones end that make contact with each other and the goal of the operation is to remove some of the end of the clavicle. This ambulatory surgery can be done with a small incision of 1 inch (2.5 cm) long or with the arthroscopy technique with 2-3 incisions. The results and recovery of these 2 surgical techniques are about the same. Most patients have a full movement by 6 weeks and can return to do sport by 12 weeks.

Treatment for acromioclavicular separation

Separation can create very painful injuries, so the first thing to do is to decrease the pain. Hold the arm in a sling, put ice and pack the shoulder for 20-30 minutes every 2 hours as needed. Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help calm the pain.

When the pain begins to subside, it’s important to move the fingers, wrists and elbow (and eventually the shoulders) in order to avoid having stiff or « frozen » shoulder. The length of time needed to regain complete movement and function depends on the severity or injury’s grade.

Recovery from Grade I acromioclavicular separation usually takes 10-14 days while Grade III takes 6-8 weeks.

When surgery

Grade I and II separations require very rarely surgery. With a Grade III injury, after surgery, it’s possible to have full body physical activity with some restrictions.

Statistics

  • More males than females suffer acromioclavicular joint injuries

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-Steph