Shoulder injuries and Physiotherapy

The shoulder joint is a very mobile joint consisting of four separate joints that all contribute to the movement of the shoulder.

  • Glenohumeral joint (ball / socket)
  • the acromioclavicular joint (between collar bone and shoulder blade)
  • Scapulo thoracic joint (between the shoulder blade and chest wall) 
  • Sternoclavicular joint (between breast bone and collar bone.

The first two of these is the most susceptible to injury.

Injuries to the shoulder fall into two categories; ones which happen acutely due to a single event or ones which occur as a result of repeated use of the shoulder. The shoulder is a complex joint, in order for it to have a large range of movement there is not the same static stability of some other joints in the body. To compensate for this there are dynamic stabilisers of the joint, such as the rotator cuff.

Injury can affect the structural components of the shoulder such as bone, ligaments and tendons, but it can also affect the balance and co-ordination of these stabilising forces.

Diagnosis and treatment

A clinical Physiotherapy assessment provides the basis for diagnosing shoulder problems and is best carried out by a Physiotherapist experienced in shoulder assessment

Physiotherapy often forms part of initial treatment and very often deals with the problem. However where there is a structural problem in the shoulder or rehabilitation has failed reconstructive surgery may be required. Many conditions are treated by arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery.