Noticing some changes in your ability to move your shoulder, or perhaps experience pain in your shoulder while sleeping? There are several signs and symptoms of a shoulder injury. Most people will need to visit a doctor to figure out what type of injury they have and how it can be treated.
It should come as no surprise that pain is often the first symptom of a shoulder injury. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the location of the pain will differ depending on the type of injury sustained. For example, a torn rotator cuff will often cause pain on the top of the shoulder, while tendinitis will usually cause pain on the front of the shoulder and possibly the length of the upper arm.
A displaced bone can also be a symptom of a shoulder injury. The shoulder has three bones within it's structure, which are the collarbone, the shoulder blade and the bone of the upper arm. If one of these bones becomes displaced, it can cause an odd appearance to the shoulder. When the arm bone is dislocated from the joint, the shoulder can appear to slouch forward or backward. When the collarbone slips out of place, it can create a bump on the top of the shoulder.
Stiffness and Weakness
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, stiffness or weakness in the shoulder can be a symptom of a shoulder injury. Stiffness indicates that the shoulder has a reduced range of motion, such as being very difficult to raise the arm overhead. Weakness indicates a difficulty in raising or moving the arm as a person might normally be able to do. Stiffness and weakness usually indicate a damaged tendon or muscle.
If your shoulder suddenly starts making grinding or popping noises when you move it, this can be a sign of a shoulder injury. These noises can be caused by tendons slipping over the bone, bone grinding against bone, or the fluid sacs of the shoulder joint bursting. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, noises are most often related to injury to the rotator cuff.
There are several tests that can be performed to diagnose what type of shoulder injury a person may have. A physical exam is the first step. The doctor may then recommend further testing. Common tests related to shoulder injuries include X-rays, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).