Shoulder Injuries

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Meet Our Specialists

More athletes and other active people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Sports Health for treatment for shoulder injuries than any other health system in the area. Our shoulder specialists pinpoint the source of your shoulder pain with sophisticated imaging and other diagnostic tools. We then offer a personalized treatment and rehabilitation plan.

Innovation in Sports Health Care

Our shoulder specialists are committed to developing leading-edge treatments that get you back to doing what you love to do faster. Ryan J. Krupp, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and executive medical director of orthopedics and Norton Sports Health, actively participates in clinical trials that provide patients access to new technology. Innovations such as new devices and shoulder implants can help speed up your recovery from surgery.

Our sports health medicine team members have expertise in treating sports-related shoulder and elbow injuries in athletes of all types. Whether your sport is CrossFit or aerial performance, or if you’re a coach who needs to stay active, you can get back to doing what matters.

Get Multidisciplinary Care When You Need It

Through the Norton Sports Health team approach to treatment, patients have access to a variety of care and support. Patients can expect to work with various professionals such as athletic trainers, physical therapists and nutritionists throughout their treatment journey. Through these appointments, patients are assessed for treatment with orthopedic specialists, neurologists or athletic trainers.

Our multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop the right plan. Our treatment plans often start with ice, rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Once your pain has improved sufficiently, physical therapy can help restore motion and relieve pain. Surgery is considered in severe injuries or in cases that don’t respond to conservative approaches.

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Most orthopedic conditions don’t require surgery. For these types of conditions, a nonsurgical orthopedic physician can help get you back to living your life and enjoying your everyday activities. A patient may get nonsurgical orthopedic care for many conditions, including sprains, strains, stress fractures, overuse injuries — such as to the knee or shoulder — and nerve pain.

Shoulder injuries and treatments include:

  • Bankart lesion or tear – When the ball of the shoulder joint comes out of the socket, a common side effect is a tear in the labrum. The labrum is the soft tissue that surrounds the socket. This specific tear is called a Bankart lesion. We first treat it with rest and over-the-counter medication. Physical therapy can help restore motion once the pain subsides. Surgery may be needed for persistent Bankart lesion pain.
  • Biceps tendonitis – Biceps tendons connect the top of your biceps muscle to the shoulder joint. The tendon can become inflamed from overuse, especially from throwing, a golf swing and overhead tennis serves. Rest, ice, physical therapy and steroid injections are the first options in treatment. If the condition continues for three months, surgery may be needed.
  • Biceps tendon rupture – This occurs when the tendon tears and is usually the result of an injury. You may have heard and felt a “pop” in your shoulder. You may notice pain when you flip your hand from palm down to palm up. Treatment of ice, rest and anti-inflammatory medication is typically sufficient. Surgery may be needed if these steps don’t succeed or in cases of athletes and workers whose sport or occupation requires complete recovery of shoulder strength.
  • Shoulder cartilage repair – Between the shoulder blade and the top of your arm bone, cartilage cushions the joint and helps it move smoothly. The cartilage can wear down as a result of injury such as a shoulder dislocation or with time in the case of arthritis. Arthroscopic surgery can remove damaged cartilage and encourage the growth of new cartilage. In more severe cases, more aggressive treatments such as shoulder replacement may be necessary.
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome – This occurs when the outer edge of you shoulder blade impinges on the tendons that make up the rotator cuff that attaches the shoulder blade to your arm bone. An injury can cause the rotator cuff to swell, but in such a confined space, the swelling can cause more issues by reducing the space it has to move. Athletes and others who repetitively use overhead motions are susceptible to shoulder impingement syndrome. Ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections and physical therapy take care of most shoulder impingement syndrome cases. If that doesn’t work, surgery to remove part of the shoulder blade bone to free up more space for the rotator cuff may be an option.
  • Shoulder labrum tear – The labrum is soft tissue that helps hold the ball-and-socket shoulder joint together. It’s attached the to the socket and wraps around the top of the arm bone or “ball.” Several ligaments in the shoulder also attach to the labrum. There are many different ways the labrum can tear, and treatment will depend on your specific injury. Often, the labrum needs to be reattached to the rim of the socket in a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.
  • Rotator cuff injury – The muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff help keep the top of your arm bone securely in the shoulder socket. A rotator cuff injury is more likely to happen with overuse in occupations that require repeated overhead motions. Physical therapy exercises are often sufficient to improve flexibility and strength. A tear from a specific injury may need surgery — often to reattach a tendon to the top of your arm bone.
  • Separated shoulder – Falls, auto accidents and sports injuries can tear the ligaments between the shoulder blade and the collarbone. Nonsurgical recovery from a separated shoulder can take a few weeks to a few months with your arm in a sling, treated with ice and anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery to reattach ligaments may be required in more serious cases.
  • Shoulder fracture – Three bones make up the shoulder joint: upper arm, shoulder blade and collarbone. Nondisplaced fractures — where the bones remain in the proper position — make up most shoulder fracture cases and typically can be treated nonsurgically. When the bones are broken into pieces and move out of position, surgery may be required to put the bones back in place.
  • Shoulder instability – Once you’ve dislocated your shoulder, you are vulnerable to it happening again. Shoulder instability occurs when loose or torn ligaments, tendons or muscles allow the shoulder to slip out of the joint repeatedly. Nonsurgical treatment such as limiting activity, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication may take several months to show results. If surgery is required, the type of minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery will depend on the cause of your instability — the joint capsule may need tightening, or a torn labrum may need a Bankart repair. If you need a bone graft to repair the socket, the procedure is done with conventional open surgery.
  • Shoulder arthritis – Osteoarthritis in the shoulder usually affects people over age 50. After years of use, the cartilage in the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint wears down. This once-smooth covering can become frayed and rough. Bones can rub against each other, causing pain. Osteoarthritis also can develop after a fracture or dislocation injury. The range of treatment options for shoulder arthritis is broad, depending on the severity of your condition. Conservative treatment involves rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Shoulder replacement surgery may be needed in more severe cases.
  • Shoulder replacement surgery – This procedure, also called shoulder arthroplasty, removes damaged parts of the bone in your shoulder and replaces them with implants made of metal and plastic. Shoulder replacement can restore motion and relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, rotator cuff injuries, or fractures. A shoulder replacement can replicate the existing ball-and-socket construction, or in the case of a reverse shoulder replacement, the ball is attached to the shoulder blade and the socket is placed at the top of the arm bone. Reverse shoulder replacements often are used to treat extensive rotator cuff damage.
  • Shoulder resurfacing – Your arthritis or mild rotator cuff condition may not require replacement of the shoulder bones. In some cases, patients benefit from having a cap placed at the top of the arm, covering the ball in the ball-and-socket joint.

About Norton Sports Health

No matter what type of athlete you are, Norton Sports Health can provide you with the care you need. Whether you’re a high school student-athlete or a professional, an older adult or a weekend warrior, we help you prevent sports-related injuries and get you back to the activities you enjoy.

  • The Norton Sports Health Performance & Wellness Center is a comprehensive sports performance, health and wellness facility unlike any other in the region. The center offers state-of-the-art technology and training for elite and high school athletes, as well as programming and workout space for casual exercisers and those new to fitness. The facility also offers youth baseball and softball pitching and hitting group classes for ages 9 to 18.
  • Norton Sports Health specialists are trained and experienced in caring for sports-related injuries and conditions.
  • Our team includes orthopedists, neurologists, primary care physicians, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists and a performance dietitian.
  • Our sports medicine physicians and other providers work together to offer advanced care for athletes and individuals of all ages.
  • Our sports health specialists serve as medical directors for the GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon.
  • We provide athletic trainers to our partner high schools and colleges in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
  • We offer same-day appointments with no referral required.
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Communicate with your medical provider, renew prescriptions, schedule appointments and get alerted if an earlier appointment becomes available through your free Norton MyChart account.

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