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It’s difficult to imagine what life would be like without a shoulder that works properly. There are so many things you couldn’t do anymore, like throw a ball, lift a grocery bag, open a door, or brush your teeth. The list is endless because this joint can complete a wider range of motion than any other joint.

Your shoulder contains two joints, the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint. The acromioclavicular is the juncture of the shoulder blade or scapula, with the collar bone or clavicle. The second, the glenohumeral, is the location of the ball or humeral head, and the socket or the glenoid.

Your shoulder does lots of great work for you because it performs: abduction, meaning it moves away from the body; adduction, as it moves toward the body; as well as flexion, extension, and internal and external rotation. This multifaceted taskmaster connects your upper arms to your torso, allowing you to move your arms. It is the body’s most flexible joint—as well as the most complex.

Assessing Your Shoulder

In addition to taking your medical history, your orthopedic surgeon will do a physical exam that

Includes the following:

  • Palpation, or touching and feeling your shoulder
  • Evaluation of your range of motion
  • Assessment of your rotator cuff, muscles and tendons that keep your shoulder in place, and other shoulder components, also your biceps
  • Testing for instability
  • Ensuring the pain doesn’t come from your neck

Your orthopedic surgeon may decide to do the following diagnostic imaging tests to learn more about what’s causing your shoulder problem.

  • X-ray
  • Computerized tomography or CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI
  • Electrical studies such as an electromyogram that evaluates nerve function
  • Arthrogram that uses dye injected into the shoulder

Shoulder Symptoms and Conditions We Treat

At the Orthopedic Institute at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, our experienced orthopedic surgeons can help if you have:

  • Acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation
  • Axillary nerve dysfunction
  • Bursitis
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Clavicle fractures
  • Degenerative conditions such
  • Frozen shoulder as arthritis
  • Humerus fractures
  • Labral tears
  • Ligament injury or sprain
  • Nerve dysfunction, including long thoracic nerves and spinal accessory nerve dysfunction
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Prior shoulder replacement issues
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Scapula fractures
  • Scapular winging

Nonsurgical Treatments for Shoulder

From athletes, to aspiring athletes, to people who just want to regain shoulder mobility, our orthopedic surgeons welcome the opportunity to help you feel better and function better. Before recommending surgery, your physician may recommend these nonsurgical options:

  • Splinting or immobilization: These restrict movement that allows you to heal faster.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Those most often used include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen. Acetaminophen can ease pain but not inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids: These may be injected into the shoulder joint to provide temporary pain relief and reduce swelling but are not always successful. Injections are usually limited to four times annually.
  • Platelet-rich plasma: This injection is made from your blood cells called platelets, that contain growth factors to help injured tissue heal faster. The blood is taken from your arm.
  • Physical therapy: Committing to a program and following directions may increase shoulder and elbow range of motion and flexibility and diminish pain.

Shoulder Surgeries We Offer

If you experience severe pain when trying to complete your daily activities, or even moderate pain when you rest or relax, you may want to consider surgery. If you’ve lost motion or have weakness in your shoulder, or the nonsurgical treatments you’ve tried just aren’t helping, surgery really may be the right choice for you. Consider these types of shoulder surgery:

  • Shoulder replacement
  • Reverse shoulder replacement
  • Revision joint replacement
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Arthroscopic repair
  • Fracture fixation

Minimally Invasive Surgery

If your surgeon performs a minimally invasive procedure such as arthroscopy, that means less of the tissue in the shoulder will be cut, using smaller incisions that disturb less of that tissue. Your surgeon will determine if you are a suitable candidate for this type of procedure, which provides you these advantages:

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Less trauma to the tissues around your joint
  • Less scarring and less blood loss
  • Quicker rehabilitation

After Your Surgery

The joint replacement team at the Orthopedic Institute at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has lengthy experience helping many patients return to a normal routine after shoulder surgery, and they will help you, too.

Our orthopedic surgeons, and our care team, are here to guide you from start to finish, to ensure you have the most pleasant and beneficial experience possible any time you undergo surgery at our hospital. We know that aftercare is so important to your complete recovery, so rest assured we are here for you, your questions, and for the accomplishment of your goals following your procedure.