Shoulder pain due to shoulder pathology is very common in our population. As our population ages and also becomes more athletically active more and more people are affected.
In athletes, we commonly see problems such as shoulder instability, which is looseness of the shoulder that can even result in a full dislocation. We often see bursitis, tendinitis, wear of the cartilage, spur formation and damage to the soft tissues about the shoulder. These are common in contact athletes as well as in throwing athletes. Our understanding of this pathology and how to treat it, both surgically as well as non-operatively with physical therapy, has advanced dramatically in the last several years.
Many previous untreatable problems, unrecognizable problems and those that were only treatable with massive open surgeries are now treated with either therapy or minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures. Problems that tend to affect the aging population, such as rotator cuff tears, degenerative arthritis, spurs and bursitis are also very, very common. These, too, are often treated with therapy and minimally invasive procedures. However, many of these problems, such as shoulder replacement due require traditional open surgical procedures.
The improved understanding of shoulder pathology and its treatment, as well as the advanced technology that we can now apply to these problems makes this an extremely exciting time to be involved in shoulder surgery and non-operative shoulder treatment. .
Albert F. Haas, M.D.