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At Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our specialty-trained shoulder doctors are recognized experts in providing evaluation and treatment for a variety of shoulder injuries and conditions.

More than any other body part, the shoulder offers an immense range of motion. To provide such a range, the joint itself is inherently unstable. In fact, the shoulder is primarily held in place by soft tissue, like the rotator cuff. What this means is that shoulder injury is common for athletes and non-athletes alike. No matter the cause of your shoulder pain, however, there is treatment available. The first step is meeting with a shoulder doctor who can diagnose the problem.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

While shoulder pain can stem from many different factors, it typically falls into one of four categories:

  1. Tendon inflammation or, in some cases, tendon tearing
  2. Fracture, or broken bone
  3. Arthritis
  4. Shoulder instability

Within these categories, there are a number of common shoulder problems, including rotator cuff tears, dislocation, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), and beyond. A shoulder specialist will be able to diagnose the problem quickly and recommend a treatment plan.

When Should You See a Shoulder Doctor About Your Shoulder Pain?

Often, shoulder pain starts gradually, and it's important to pay attention to some of the early warning signs. The quicker you seek medical intervention, the more likely it is that you can achieve a full recovery with minimal invasion.

There are a few common signs of an impending shoulder injury, which include stiffness, the inability to rotate your shoulder joint normally, the feeling that your shoulder is popping or sliding out of place, and the lack of strength in your shoulder. If you experience any of these problems, make sure you speak with a shoulder doctor as quickly as possible.

What Should You Expect From Your Shoulder Surgeon?

When you go to meet with your shoulder surgeon, you'll first be asked some basic questions about your medical history and lifestyle. Your surgeon will likely want to take some X-rays, and there may also be a physical examination in which your surgeon will move your shoulder around to see what makes it stiff or causes you discomfort.

From there, your doctor will offer you some recommendations about potential treatments. In some instances, you may be able to get relief through nonsurgical methods, including shoulder exercises. In many cases, however, shoulder damage may require surgical intervention, such as a shoulder replacement surgery.

What Should You Expect From Surgery?

Shoulder surgery encompasses several different things, including arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, total shoulder replacement, and other orthopedic shoulder surgeries.

The type of surgery you need depends on your injury. An injury to your rotator cuff, for example, can often be addressed with an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, which is a surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to see inside your shoulder joint and resolve any issues. For other conditions, like arthritis, your surgeon may recommend a shoulder replacement, reverse total shoulder replacement, or another surgery altogether.

What Is the Recovery Time for Shoulder Surgery?

Shoulder surgeries tend to be major procedures, so it will be a little while before you are completely pain-free. For a procedure that involves your rotator cuff, recovery can take four to six months. With that said, you will probably be able to move your shoulder adequately and to resume everyday activities, such as driving, within five to seven weeks. Additionally, your shoulder surgeon can provide physical therapy options as well as medications to minimize the pain you feel.

The important thing is that, with the right orthopedic care, you can have lasting relief for your shoulder arthritis, ball-and-socket injury, shoulder dislocation, or any other ailments. The first step is seeking the right diagnosis from a specialty-trained shoulder surgeon.

The Region's Most Comprehensive Shoulder Care

At the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our experienced doctors and staff are proud to offer exceptional orthopedic care to people throughout the communities of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Our doctors are available at our office in St. Joseph, Missouri, as well as at the Northwest Medical Center in Albany, Missouri, the Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri, the Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and the Hiawatha Community Hospital in Hiawatha, Kansas.

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Daniel Smith, Dr. Brett Miller, Dr. Corey Trease, and Dr. Brian Duncan, have years of experience in treating patients with a variety of shoulder injuries or conditions. Our shoulder surgeons have the knowledge and skills to perform a thorough evaluation and provide an accurate diagnosis and viable treatment options. Conservative methods will always be recommended first, but there are some cases when surgery is required to help eliminate pain and restore proper function.

If a shoulder injury or condition is keeping you from living the life you love, schedule an appointment with one of our specialty-trained shoulder surgeons by requesting an appointment online or calling (816) 233-9888.

For those urgent injuries that require immediate attention and can't wait for an appointment, visit our OSMC Today Walk-In Clinic.