Often, shoulder and elbow pain results from the natural process of aging that causes the wear and tear of bones, muscles, ligaments, or other soft tissues. For instance, shoulder and elbow overuse can lead to inflamed tendons, which causes pain. You will also learn from La Jolla, CA orthopedic shoulder & elbow surgeon that pain from your shoulder or elbow may also result from a traumatic injury. A tear or damage to any joints of your shoulder and elbow will negatively affect your arm’s overall mobility and functionality.
Before your surgeon treats you surgically, there will often be attempts to resolve your issue non-surgically.
Non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments may involve RICE therapy, over-the-counter medications, compressing the injured area, gentle stretching, and maintaining good posture. For instance, wrapping your shoulder and elbow with a medical bandage can provide relief against inflammation and pain.
Consequently, below are signs you may need to visit an orthopedic shoulder and elbow surgeon immediately.
Persistent severe pain
Pain may originate from the upper part of your arm and shoulder, between the elbow and shoulder, and radiate from the shoulder to the hand.
The pain may come with numbness, which means that the underlying condition affects the nerves in the shoulder and arm. Also, if the nerves are affected by wear and tear or physical injury, you may experience a burning sensation.
If you have an infection in your shoulder or elbow, you may also have warmth, fever, and redness.
The most prevalent causes of shoulder and elbow pain are rotator cuff tears, inflammation of tendons (tendinitis or tendonitis), impingement syndrome, dislocations, and traumatic injuries.
Stiff shoulder and elbow
The shoulder is the most flexible joint and has muscles to provide sufficient support and stability. As a result, you can perform numerous movements, including throwing a ball or brushing your hair.
On the other hand, the elbow joint enables you to extend and flex your arm to reach for objects and grab them.
However, if your shoulder is stiff, especially due to arthritis or a frozen shoulder, its range of motion will significantly decrease. That occurs even when a person assists you in lifting your arm.
A stiff elbow can affect the general function of the arm as it becomes difficult to extend and flex it. A traumatic injury, particularly from a fall, can cause a stiff elbow.
Weak and painful shoulder
Often the pain and weakness that emanates from the shoulder are due to a swimmer’s shoulder or rotator cuff tear.
The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles holding the shoulder joint in position and allowing arm and shoulder movement. A rotator cuff tear will make your arm feel weaker and unable to function normally.
Without treating a rotator cuff tear, you risk having permanent weakness in the affected arm.
Another sign you need treatment from a surgeon is when your shoulder or elbow is unstable and inflamed. Failure to effectively treat a dislocated or unstable shoulder puts you at risk of a similar condition later.
Contact Upper Extremity Specialists of Ortho 1 Medical Group today to schedule an appointment with a specialist in shoulder and elbow surgery.