New Orleans orthopedic surgeon

Shoulder pain is common – some people experience it following a fall, while some suffer from shoulder pain due to repetitive stress. But according to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, the majority of sufferers simply woke up with shoulder pain and have no idea what’s causing it.

There are many structures in the shoulder that can become injured and cause shoulder pain; the 5 most common causes of shoulder pain Dr. Meyer sees include:

  1. Labral Tears
  2. Rotator Cuff Tendinosis
  3. Rotator Cuff Tears
  4. Calcific Tendonitis
  5. AC Joint (Separations and Arthritis)
  6. Stress Fractures

The cause of your shoulder pain has a lot to do with your age.  Different problems arise in the shoulder and cause pain as we age.

Age 14-20: 

  • In the pediatric population, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon finds that most shoulder pain is the result of a traumatic event such as a fall; in fact, shoulder dislocations are one of the leading causes of shoulder pain in this age group.
  • Labral tears are a very common source of shoulder pain in the pediatric athlete.
  • Stress fractures occur in this age group because the bones are still growing.

Age 20-35:

  • Labral tears are still very high on the list of possible causes of shoulder pain, particularly if you are under 30.
  • Especially in the heavy weight lifter and football players, the AC Joint – the small bump above your shoulder – can wear out from constant weight training.
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis is the first group where the rotator cuff can start to become a cause of shoulder pain.  In these instances, the patient was likely working out heavily and now the front or side of the shoulder is sore with minimal activity.

Age 35-50:

  • The rotator cuff starts to become the number one source of shoulder pain.
  • If the rotator cuff wears out enough, it may develop into something called partial thickness rotator cuff tears, which are quite common.
  • Full thickness rotator cuff tears can occur following a significant injury.  Unfortunately your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon finds that the majority of them occur because the tendon wore out.
  • Calcific tendonitis causes very severe shoulder pain and is a result of a calcium deposit in the middle of the rotator cuff tendon.

Age 50+:

  • The rotator cuff remains the most common cause of pain.
  • Labral tears are rarely a cause of shoulder pain after 50.
  • After 50 and beyond the cartilage that covers the bones can start to wear thin and degenerate resulting in osteoarthritis.

As you can see, there are numerous causes for shoulder pain.  By far the number one culprit is the rotator cuff.  If you are young, don’t ignore your rotator cuff when working out.

If your shoulder has been bothering you for some time, call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule an appointment and let’s get to the bottom of it!


Orthopaedic Specialists of New Orleans
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