Shoulder injuries affect people of all ages, from minor sports injuries to surgical reconstruction and joint replacement. A specialized shoulder physical therapy plan of care is key to recovering quickly and to your fullest.
The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body and serves as a platform for hand function: the hand cannot function if the shoulder can’t get it where it needs to be.
The shoulder’s extraordinary flexibility makes it an inherently unstable joint that relies heavily on the condition of the surrounding musculature. Shoulder health is easily influenced by changing the muscle balance and posture of the joint.
In some cases Physical Therapy is all that is needed to eliminate discomfort and return the shoulder to full function. In more complicated cases, shoulder physical therapy is used after injections or surgery to help the patient make a full recovery.
Shoulder Physical Therapy
- Get your symptoms under control using natural means.
- Restore full range of motion and strength including normal movement patterns.
- Prepare you to return to sports or other activities you enjoy.
Rotator Cuff Strains
Rotator cuff strains can occur with repetitive activity such as throwing a ball, lifting heavy objects like suitcases, or from accidents such as a fall. Many rotator cuff strains occur with no apparent injury. The likelihood of strains in the rotator cuff increases with age.
Rotator Cuff Repairs
Complete tears or severe tears of the rotator cuff require surgical repair. These repairs are usually done as an outpatient procedure and the patient is required to immobilize the arm for a few days or weeks. Following the immobilization period, patients are referred to Physical Therapy for restoration of range of motion and a specific program of strengthening.
The main joint in the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint which is shaped like a ball and socket. The Glenoid labrum is a ring of cartilage that forms the rim of the socket. Labrum tears occur when the ball is displaced or dislocated from the socket. Often these injuries occur in contact sports, auto accidents and other traumatic events. Labrum tears often require surgery followed by Physical Therapy to stabilize the joint.
The shoulder joint is surrounded by a fibrous capsule. In a healthy joint, the capsule is loose and flexible. Shoulders can become “frozen” when the capsule becomes inflamed and tight. Often there is very little movement in the shoulder at this point and it becomes very uncomfortable, especially at night. Physical therapy can restore flexibility to the joint and reduce symptoms. In severe cases, a surgeon is required to manipulate the joint under anaesthesia to break up scar tissue.
In cases of advanced arthritis or after a traumatic injury, a shoulder replacement may be required. Similar to other joint replacements, the surgeon replaces the bearing surfaces of the joint leaving the muscles intact. Following shoulder replacement, Physical Therapy is used to restore range of motion, strength and normal movement patterns.