Orthopedists are doctors who treat conditions related to joints and muscles. One of the most common joints they treat is the shoulder. Since shoulders are put through a lot of wear and tear whenever people use their arms, shoulder injuries and ailments are quite common. So, what are some signs that you should see an orthopedist about your shoulder?
Limited Range of Motion
You should be able to lift your arm all of the way up in front of your body, and also swing it around in a circle. If you can't lift your arm all of the way or make a full circle, then there is likely something amiss with your shoulder. This limited range of motion usually indicates that you have muscle tightness in the area. This could be due to a muscle strain, but it could also be your muscles compensating for an injury to the tendons or ligaments. Your orthopedist will observe your movement and perhaps order x-rays and an MRI to figure out exactly what's wrong.
A Clicking Noise
Do you hear a clicking noise coming from your shoulder when you move in a certain way? Maybe you also feel this "click" as you move. This type of clicking noise is usually due to a tendon problem. Your tendon may be inflamed and irritated, or it might even have a tear. It's important to see an orthopedist and find out how bad the injury is so it gets treated properly. If it's just minor tendinitis, you'll just need to rest and ice your shoulder in most cases. If there's a tear, you may need surgery or more intensive physical therapy.
Chronic Aching and Pain
It's not unusual for your shoulder to be a bit sore after a big workout or after you do a lot of work that involves your arms. But if the pain lingers for more than a few days, there may be something bigger going on. One common possibility is a torn rotator cuff. The connective tissues that form a "cuff" around your shoulder joint can become stretched and torn. Torn rotator cuffs often need to be surgically repaired, so don't ignore this sort of chronic pain.
If you are struggling with any of the issues above, make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in your area. Shoulder problems are common, and orthopedists tend to have a lot of experience diagnosing and treating them.