Injury, inflammation, or infection near the shoulder blade.
Pain in the shoulder blade area.
Pain or swelling in the shoulder blade area.
Swelling or inflammation of the shoulder blade.
Swelling of the shoulder blade.
Unwanted weight gain in the upper part of the back.
Unwanted weight gain in the lower part of the back.
Where the body joins the spine.
What are the symptoms of a shoulder blade injury?
The symptoms of a shoulder blade injury depend on the location of the injury. The most common shoulder blade injuries are sprains and strains.
Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains occur when the muscle is stretched and torn. The most common sprain is a horizontal tear of the muscle (Figure 1). This is called a “saddle” sprain.
Figure 1. A saddle sprain is a tear of the muscle from a stretching motion.
A saddle sprain can cause pain and swelling in the shoulder blade area. The muscle may be tender to touch. You may also feel a snapping, grating, or pulling sensation.
In the back of the shoulder blade, a tear caused by a twisting motion or a fall can also be a sprain. In the front of the shoulder blade, a tear from a fall can also be a sprain. This is called a “lateral” sprain.
Infections of the shoulder blade area are also called subacromial bursitis or subacromial impingement syndrome. This condition can cause pain, tenderness, and swelling in the shoulder blade area.
What causes a shoulder blade injury?
Muscle spasms are common in the shoulder blade area. When the muscle spasms become chronic, they can cause a muscle strain. Strains and sprains can also be a result of muscle weakness that is caused by aging, injury, or other medical conditions.
Common causes of muscle strains and sprains include:
- A fall
- Repetitive use
- Lifting a heavy object
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle or tendon injury
Other conditions that may cause strains and sprains include:
- Tendon friction
- Bone spurs
- Bone fractures
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Herniated disks
- Muscle spasticity
Diagnosing a shoulder blade injury
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. Your doctor will look at your shoulder, arm, and hand. They may also ask you to lift and move objects.
Your doctor may also order a series of tests to determine the cause of the injury. These tests may include:
- MRI scan
- CT scan
Treatment for a shoulder blade injury
Your doctor will treat your injury depending on the type of injury you have. Treatment may include:
- A splint or cast to support your shoulder and limit movement
Physical therapy can help strengthen your shoulder and reduce muscle spasms. It may also help prevent future injury.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your pain is severe. You may also need surgery if you have symptoms of a serious injury.
The type of surgery depends on the type of injury you have. For sprain or strain injuries, your doctor may recommend:
- Surgery to repair the torn muscle
- Surgery to remove the bone spur
Your doctor may also recommend surgery if you have severe symptoms of arthritis or an infection.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery if you have severe symptoms due to tendonitis, bursitis, or tendinitis.
What are the complications of a?
A shoulder blade injury can cause permanent damage to your shoulder or your arm. Complications may include:
- Bone spurs. Bone spurs can grow on the bone in your shoulder blade. These bone spurs can cause a bump on the top of your shoulder blade or cause the shoulder blade to rub against the bone.
- An infection. An infection can cause the bone to become swollen and painful.
- Muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can cause your shoulder to become weak and stiff.
- Tendonitis. Tendonitis can cause inflammation and pain in the shoulder blade area.
What is the long-term outlook?
The outlook depends on the type of injury and how quickly you recover.
In most cases, a shoulder blade injury can be treated at home. If your injury is severe, you may need to have surgery.
How can I prevent a?
The best way to prevent a shoulder blade injury is to prevent muscle spasms and prevent them from getting worse.
If you have a history of muscle spasms, you may want to try yoga, Pilates, or other exercises that help build strength and flexibility.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent a strain or a sprain from occurring.
If you are a runner, you may want to avoid injury by warming up and stretching before running.
Surgery to repair a torn muscle or bone is the only way to ensure that you heal completely.
Preventing a shoulder blade injury
A shoulder blade injury can be prevented by:
- Regular stretching to prevent muscle spasms
- Using the proper form when lifting or moving
- Using proper equipment
- Not lifting heavy objects
- Not participating in repetitive motions
When to see a doctor?
See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a shoulder blade injury.
You should also see your healthcare provider if you have:
- Pain, swelling, or tenderness in the shoulder blade
- Numbness in the shoulder blade
- Soreness in the shoulder blade
- Difficulty moving your shoulder blade
- Inability to lift your arm or shoulder
- Swelling in the arm
- A bump on the top of your shoulder blade
Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- A large bump on the top of your shoulder, indicating a bone spurs
- Weakness in the shoulder that does not improve after resting
- A sudden increase in pain
- Loss of movement in the arm or shoulder
- Bleeding from the area
- Inability to move the arm or shoulder
- Swelling in the arm, neck, or face
- A bulge in the chest
- A bulge in the belly button
- A drooping shoulder
- Difficulty breathing
A rib injury is more common than you may think. The symptoms can be similar to other conditions, especially when you’re in pain.
See your doctor if your rib pain is severe, doesn’t go away, or gets worse. If you have MS, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
See your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms of rib pain
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