The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle), and shoulder blade (scapula). These bones are held together by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body and because of its mobility, it tends to be more susceptible to injury.
Shoulder pain can originate in the joint or in any of the surrounding muscles, ligaments or tendons and usually worsens with activities or movement of your arm or shoulder. Injuries are the most common cause of shoulder pain and usually occur during sports activities, work-related tasks or projects around the home.
Shoulder problems can be minor or serious. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness, changes in temperature or color, or changes in your range of motion.
Possible Causes of Shoulder Pain
- Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that limits the movements of your shoulder due to pain and inflammation. The condition usually comes on slowly. First the tissues around the joint stiffen then, as scar tissue forms, shoulder movement becomes difficult and painful. The pain will begin gradually until you will unable to move your shoulder.Frozen shoulder may occur after an injury or overuse, but is more common in people in people with diabetes, thyroid disorders, heart disease, and Parkinson's disease. Contact a doctor to receive the proper treatment of this condition.
- Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint that provide support to enable a wide range of motion. Major injury may result in a tear of these tendons, referred to as a rotator cuff tear. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which may worsen if you try to sleep on the involved side.
Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. If you have a rotator cuff injury, you should seek medical attention to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Dislocated Shoulder
A dislocation occurs when the end of the humerus (the ball portion) partially or completely dislocates from the glenoid (the socket portion) of the shoulder. This injury may be caused by a fall or blow which causes the top of your arm bone to pop out of the shoulder socket.
Frequent shoulder dislocation can lead to the chronic condition of shoulder instability. This occurs when the tissue and nerves around the shoulder are too damaged and weak to hold the humerus in place. If you have a dislocated shoulder you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Separated Shoulder
Separated shoulder occurs when the outer end of the collarbone (clavicle) separates from the end (acromion) of the shoulder blade due to torn ligament. Most often this injury occurs most when there is a blow to a shoulder from physical contact or a fall. A sudden intense impact to the shoulder may tear one of the ligaments that connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade. When the collarbone is no longer anchored, it may move out of position and push against the skin near the top of your shoulder.
In a mild separated shoulder, the ligaments may just be stretched. In severe injuries, ligaments may be completely ruptured. Proper diagnosis along with a treatment plan will ensure full recovery.
- Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is one of the most common causes of pain in the shoulder. Sometimes referred to as swimmer’s shoulder, it is caused by the impingement of the tendons of the rotator cuff as they pass through the shoulder. In repetitive overhead activities, such as painting, lifting, or overhead sports, the tendon will become inflamed because it is compressed and scraping against bone.
Shoulder impingement syndrome can start suddenly after an injury, or it can come on gradually without any obvious cause. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, if left untreated, could lead to tendinitis, bursitis or the tearing of the rotator cuff tendons.
It is important that you receive the proper diagnosis and treatment from a physician.
The elbow joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. The elbow joint moves via its muscles and tendons. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you may experience elbow pain. Although elbow pain usually isn't serious, it can affect your life because you use your elbow in so many ways. Because the elbow is a complex joint that allows you to extend and flex your forearm and rotate your hand and forearm, you may find it difficult to describe what is causing you pain.
Possible Causes of Elbow Pain
- Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overworked, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. It is usually caused by either an abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and tendon area around the outside of the elbow where the muscles and tendons of the forearm attach to the lateral epicondyle (the outside bony area).
Although tennis elbow commonly affects tennis players, it also affects other athletes and anyone who participates in leisure or work activities that require repetitive arm, elbow, wrist, and hand movements.
Because many other conditions can cause pain around the elbow, it is important that you make an appointment with a doctor so the proper diagnosis can be made.
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome, also called ulnar nerve entrapment is a condition caused by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve, which passes close to the skin’s surface in the area referred to as the “funny bone”. The ulnar nerve travels down the back of the elbow behind the bony bump (the medial epicondyle), and through a passageway called the cubital tunnel.
Although you are likely to develop cubital tunnel syndrome from repeatedly leaning your elbow on a hard surface or bending it for sustained periods of times, it is can also be caused from intense physical activity such as throwing a baseball.
A proper diagnosis and treatment plan can ensure a full recovery of Cubital tunnel syndrome.
- Ruptured Biceps Tendon
The biceps muscle, located in the front of the upper arm allows you to bend the elbow and rotate the arm. The biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder and in the elbow.
Ruptures of the biceps are classified as proximal (close) or distal (far). Distal ruptures are extremely rare. The proximal rupture occurs where the biceps attaches at the top of your shoulder. Although fairly uncommon, a tendon rupture can be a serious problem and may result in excruciating pain and permanent disability if untreated.
- UCL Reconstruction
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is one of the main stabilizing ligaments in the elbow and is used during overhead activities such as throwing and pitching. An UCL injury is caused by repetitive stress to the elbow or from trauma.
Although anyone can develop an UCL injury, pitchers at the highest risk because throwing motions that twist and bend the elbow put extreme stress on the ligament. Over time, the UCL can develop tiny or large tears until the ligament has stretched and lengthened to the point where it can't hold the bones tightly enough during throwing activities. In order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment of a UCL injury, you should see an orthopedic specialist.
Whenever you use the hip, a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves within its socket. This ball-and-socket joint -- the body's largest -- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement and is designed to withstand repeated motion.
Despite its durability, the hip joint isn't indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage may wear down or become damaged causing the muscles and tendons to get overused. During a fall or other injury, the hip bone itself can be fractured. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain.
It you are experiencing pain on the inside of your hip or your groin, it may indicate a problem with the hip joint. Pain originating from the on the outside of your hip, upper thigh or outer buttock, is usually caused by problems with the muscles, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues that surround your hip joint.
Possible Causes for Hip Pain
The three hamstring muscles, namely semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris, run down the back of the thigh and help you bend (flex) your knee and extend your leg. Among its many functions, this trio of hamstring muscles is responsible for propelling your body forward with every step. These muscles originate at the bottom of the pelvis and attach to different areas after crossing behind the knee joint. During a hamstring strain, one or more of these muscles gets overloaded and may even start to tear.
Unfortunately, hamstring strains are both common and painful. Because hamstring strain occurs during activities that involve a lot of running and jumping or sudden stopping and starting, these injuries are common with athletes who participate in sports such as running, soccer, skaters, and football, soccer, and basketball. A proper diagnosis and treatment plan will lessen the recovery time for this injury.
- Femoroacetabular Impingement
Femoroacetabular impingement or FAI is a condition caused by too much friction in the hip joint. Basically, the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) rub abnormally creating damage to the hip joint. Damage may occur to the articular cartilage (smooth white surface of the ball or socket) or the labral cartilage (soft tissue bumper of the socket).
The main symptoms of FAI are a stiffness or pain in the groin or the front thigh and/or a loss of your hip's full range of motion. With FAI, activities that involve repeated hip motion, such as prolonged walking will become painful. Sometimes the groin pain occurs once you stand up after being seated for long periods. If you experience pain when walking on flat ground, this may be an indication that the cartilage that cushions the hip ball and socket is wearing thin. This left unchecked may lead to osteoarthritis. Due to the wear and tear on the hip joint, Osteoarthritis is becoming more common for people under 50 years old, who participate in professional and recreational sports.
Proper diagnosis is critical with a Femoroacetabular impingement so that the condition does not worsen.
- Gluteus Medius
Gluteus medius syndrome is a condition that causes pain and inflammation on the outer portion of the hip. The gluteus medius muscle is one of three muscles in the buttocks and is responsible for moving the thigh away from the other thigh (abducting), as well as stabilizing the hip while walking, running and jumping.
Tears of the gluteus medius usually occur where the tendon inserts at the greater trochanter (a protrusion near the femur), causing lateral hip pain. Gluteus medius syndrome may indicate a 1 or 2 strain of the muscle or tendon. Grade 1 strains cause pain, but the tendon is not lengthened. Grade 2 strains include a lengthened ligament due to the ligament being stretched or partially ruptured. With grade 2 strains there is still function, although the function is decreased.
In order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment of Gluteus medius syndrome, you should see an orthopedic specialist
Many people have a misunderstanding of how their spine works. Consider your spine as a column of bones (vertebrae) held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments and cushioned by shock-absorbing disks that separate the vertebrae. A problem in any part of your spine can lead to back or neck pain. For some people, the pain is simply an annoyance. For others, it can be excruciating and disabling. A physician can help you understand your ailment and work towards a solution.
Most back pain — even severe back pain — goes away on its own in four to six weeks with treatment by a qualified professional. Surgery is rarely needed for back pain and is generally considered only as a last resort.
A common cause of back pain is injury to a ligament (sprain) or muscle (strain). Sprains and Strains can occur for many reasons, including improper lifting and movement, poor posture or lack of regular exercise. Being overweight may increase your risk of sprains and strains affecting your back.
Back pain can also result from more-serious injuries such as a vertebral fractures or ruptured disks; from arthritis and other age-related changes in your spine and from certain infections or conditions.
Possible causes of back pain include:
- Muscle sprains or strains
- Herniated disk
- Kidney infection
- Poor posture
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal stenosis
Causes shown here are commonly associated with the symptoms of back pain or discomfort. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
The knee joint's main function is to bend, straighten, and bear the weight of the body along with the ankles and hips. The knee, more than just a simple hinged joint, also twists and rotates. In order to perform all of these actions and to support the entire body while doing so, the knee relies on a number of structures including bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
Knee pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint and refers to pain that occurs in and around your knee joint. It can be caused by problems with the knee joint itself, or it can be caused by conditions affecting the soft tissues — ligaments, tendons or bursae — that surround the knee. The severity of knee pain can vary widely. Some people may feel only a slight twinge, while others may experience a debilitating knee pain that interferes with their day-to-day activities.
Possible Causes of Elbow Pain
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope like structure located in the centre of the knee running from the femur to the tibia.
When an ACL injury occurs, immediately your knee will swell, feel unstable and will be unable to bear weight. Many people hear or feel a "pop" in their knee when they injure their ACL. Unfortunately, when this ligament tears, surgery is required to restore the stability in the knee.
An ACL injury most commonly occurs during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction — such as basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. If you experience an ACL injury, seek medical help immediately.
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament
The Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), is one of four major ligaments of the knee, is situated at the back of the knee. It connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). The PCL limits the backward movement of the shinbone.
The posterior cruciate ligament is usually injured by a direct impact. For example, during a motor vehicle accident when the knee forcefully strikes against the dashboard or during sports participation when the knee is twisted or overextended.
The most common symptom of a PCL injury is pain, immediate weakness or a popping sound in the knee. Other symptoms include swelling, stiffness and bruising. It is essential that you seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Torn Meniscus
A meniscus tear is a common injury to the cartilage that stabilizes and cushions the knee joint. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of shock-absorbing cartilage that serves as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. There is a meniscus on the medial side (side closest to the midline of the body) and one on the lateral side of each knee.
Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus. Typically, younger athletes suffer more significant injuries than do older adults. Often older athletes will note feeling pain after squatting to pick something up.
A torn meniscus may cause pain, swelling and stiffness. Your tear may be minor, moderate or severe so it is important have a doctor properly assess your injury and propose a treatment plan. Treatment plans will vary depending on your age, health, and level of daily physical activity.
The ankle is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Because the ankle is designed to bear your full body weight, it is prone to injury. The most common of ankle injuries is a sprain that occurs when your ankle is forced to move out of its normal position.
Injuries from a fall that causes your ankle to twist or landing awkwardly on your foot after jumping or pivoting, may involve a torn ligament. When an ankle’s ligaments or torn or outstretched, you may experience pain on the inside or outside of your ankle or along the Achilles tendon, which connects the muscles in your lower leg to your heel bone.
Ankle pain, whether mild or severe, should be evaluated by your doctor, especially if it follows an injury.
Possible Causes for Foot/Ankle Pain
- Ankle Fracture
Ankle injuries are the most common sports-related injury. An ankle fracture is a break in one or more bones that make up the ankle joint. If your ankle or foot is broken, you may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Immediate, throbbing pain
- Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
- Difficulty in walking or bearing weight
- Problems getting a shoe on or off
Some people feel or hear a snap at the time of injury and assume that the ankle is broken. Because a popping sound may also be an indication of a torn ligament, it is best to have a doctor examine your foot immediately.
- Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord located behind the ankle that connects the calf muscles to heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run and jump. If the Achilles tendon is not used it can becomes thin or weak and more susceptible to injury.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by the overuse of the Achilles tendon. It is common for Achilles tendinitis to occur in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs or with middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.
In the case of a ruptured Achilles tendon, you might feel a pop or snap, followed by an immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg. This will likely affect your ability to walk properly. The signs or symptoms associated with an Achilles tendon rupture are:
- Pain and swelling near your heel
- The inability to bend your foot downward or "push off" the injured leg when you walk
- An inability to stand on your toes on the injured leg
If you hear a popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs, you should seek medical advice immediately as surgery is often the best option to repair an Achilles tendon rupture.
- Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain refers to tearing the ligaments of the ankle. The most common ankle sprain occurs on the lateral or outside part of the ankle. This is an extremely common injury which affects many people during a wide variety of activities.
An ankle sprain may occur when you fall, suddenly twist the ankle joint or when you land your foot in an awkward position after a jump. Upon impact, the ligaments (which connect adjacent bones in a joint) overstretch or tear causing the joint to become unstable. An inversion injury to the ankle, or twisted ankle, refers to when the foot rolls underneath the ankle or leg.
Along with ankle pain, there will be various degrees of swelling and bleeding under the skin (i.e. bruising). Depending on the severity of the sprain, a person may or may not be able to put weight on the foot. Your doctor can properly diagnose whether you have an ankle sprain or some other injury or condition associated with the foot.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that begins with your first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
Although plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are also at risk.
Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have a doctor properly diagnose the underlying source of heel pain.