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Shoulder pain: A Closer Look

Because the shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint, there are several reasons as to why you could have shoulder pain.

Most shoulder problems fall into four major categories:

  • Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
  • Instability
  • Arthritis
  • Fracture (broken bone)

Other much less common causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infection, and nerve-related problems.



There are many tissues in the shoulder, such as tendons or bursae that may become inflamed and lead to discomfort. Many daily activities, such as reaching for a cup of coffee or combing your hair, may become difficult.

The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the four rotator cuff tendons and one of the biceps tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles and their tendons that cover the head of your upper arm bone and keep it in the shoulder socket. Click here for more information regarding rotator cuff tendonitis.


Tendon Tears

Tearing of tendons may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advancing age or long-term overuse. These tears may be partial or may be full thickness. In most cases of complete tears, the tendon is pulled away from its attachment to the bone. Rotator cuff and biceps tendon injuries are among the most common of these injuries.