The Ohio State Sports Medicine team evaluates and treats a broad range of orthopedic shoulder and elbow injuries. These injuries occur in the young and the elderly, as well as in people with active or sedentary lifestyles. And traumatic shoulder injury can often lead to arthritis in the long term and other short term issues with the rotator cuff and labrum (cartilage in the shoulder). Throwers, commonly referred to as throwing athletes or upper extremity athletes, can have unique and complex problems involving the shoulder and elbow. In addition to the problematic joint, it is critically important to treat the entire athlete – including hip, trunk, back and core muscle groups.

The majority of shoulder and elbow injuries respond to a nonsurgical approach, such as anti-inflammatory medications, icing, rest, physical therapy, a sling or brace. If matters worsen, surgery might be a solution to consider. The recovery period for a shoulder injury after surgery ranges from three to six months.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Injuries

A thorough physical exam, X-rays, presence of symptoms (including pain with and without movement, inflammation, stiffness, weakness and restricted ability) and history review are the basis for determining the source of your shoulder pain. An MRI provides a detailed, high-resolution image of your bones, joints and surrounding soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments and muscles. It helps us understand how extensive the damage or abnormality is and if surgery is potentially required. CT scans are taken to better understand your specific bone condition and are used for preoperative review by your surgeon.

Shoulder Conditions We Treat

  • Shoulder instability is a result of the joint being out of position, whether from trauma or overuse. Associated symptoms of a shoulder dislocation include pain that worsens when raising the arm, stiffness, lack of strength and mobility in the shoulder area and the sensation that the shoulder is slipping out of place.
  • Rotator cuff tears often occur slowly from shoulder misuse or general overuse over months or years, whether from sports, jobs with repeated overhead motion, or daily activities. The repetitive force against the tendon is to blame and the aging process factors in as well. 
  • Bicep and labral tears such as the superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP tear) and biceps tendon tear are when the tendons that attach muscles to bones become torn, whether acutely, or slowly with repetitive use. 
  • Shoulder impingement occurs when the bone on top of the shoulder impinges on the rotator cuff with overhead arm movement, causing pain and irritation.
  • Fractures of the shoulder, scapula, acromion, clavicle and tuberosity can happen in young patients as a result of high-energy trauma, while others can have shoulder fractures from ground-level falls.
  • Clavicle Collarbone Fractures are very common at all ages from falls onto the shoulder or onto an outstretched arm that puts undue pressure on the collarbone, although they are most common in young patients.
  • Tendinosis of the shoulder or elbow results when there isn’t appropriate rehabilitation after an injury or when an overuse injury simply fails to heal properly.
  • Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa – the fluid-filled cushion between bone and muscle or tendon. This condition creates pain and swelling and is a result of injury to or overuse of a joint.
  • Shoulder Arthritis is a slow progressing problem, generally from previous bony fracture, dislocation or heavy blow to the shoulder that results in an abnormal wearing down of the cartilage. Treatment focuses on reduction of inflammation, physical therapy for strengthening and to preserve motion and avoidance of activities to prevent further wear and arthritic flare-ups.
  • Failed Shoulder Replacement from occasional mechanical failure, soft tissue failure, fracture or ongoing pain after a replacement is often a complex problem that requires a systematic approach to treatment. It may include specialized testing such as CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound imaging, blood tests and joint fluid samples.

 


A Closer Look at Shoulder Injury and Surgery

Labral Tears

Dr. Grant Jones outlines how research gained from a multi-center study group found that a majority of labral and rotator cuff tears do not require surgery.

Labral Repair Surgery

A visual demonstration and explanation of what happens during a labral repair surgery, narrated by the surgeon, Dr. Julie Bishop.

Research to help Rotator Cuff Issues

 Ohio State is involved in one of largest research studies to treat rotator cuff problems and how to get patients healed sooner.

Rotator Cuff Treatment

Dr. Grant Jones outlines the techniques used at Ohio State Sports Medicine to treat rotator cuff injuries and what a patient can expect in the recovery process.

Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery

Shoulder specialist, Dr. Julie Bishop, provides an overview of what happens during a rotator cuff repair surgery.

Nonsurgical Treatments

When we’re considering treatment options for a shoulder or elbow injury, we first consider how much the pain impacts your quality of life. There are a variety of conservative treatment options that can be a suitable alternative for surgery in the short term or indefinitely.

Surgical Treatments

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center recommends exhausting other treatment options before deciding on surgery. Treatment is personalized for each patient, and in some cases surgery can be avoided for patients with injuries like rotator cuff tears. But when there is great discomfort or you desire to get back to your sport and other methods haven’t produced the desired results, surgery can diminish pain and improve function.

Why Ohio State?

Why choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for treatment of sports-related shoulder pain?

Expertise: Our surgeons treat patients with all types of shoulder and elbow disorders. Revision shoulder instability procedures, especially dislocations due to bone loss, are a specific focus.

Ongoing research: Our surgeons have also participated in the largest study to date on the nonoperative treatment of full-thickness rotator cuff tears, which has won two Neer Awards – the most prestigious international award recognition for shoulder research.

Highly educated: We offer fellowship-level physician care and physical therapy. That means our providers have completed up to two years of intense, specialized experiential training in the field, which translates to extensive proficiency in patient care.

High-level training: In addition to our prestigious orthopedic sports medicine fellowship, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the first in the country to offer a credentialed Upper Extremity Athlete Fellowship Program. This is a 12-month program in partnership with the Cleveland Indians and their Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers.

Diagnostic Expertise: In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked our Orthopaedic program 33rd in the nation. 

Patient Success

Brooke's Story

Brooke was a synchronized swimmer at The Ohio State University and is currently a physician assistant at Ohio State Sports Medicine. Here she shares the care she received for her shoulder pain and how everyone is treated with the utmost quality of care regardless of who you are.

Christine's Story

Christine suffered from a series of shoulder dislocations that inhibited her from playing softball, and other interests. A surgeon at Ohio State Sports Medicine used the laterjet procedure to solve her dilemma. Christine shares why she recommends The Ohio State University for injured athletes.

Jean's Story

A debilitating rotator cuff tear left Jean unable to do many of the daily activities she enjoyed, from general taking care of her family to the annual hosting of holiday dinners. She shares how the sports medicine specialists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center helped her get back to activity. 

Mitch's Story

Mitch shares the story of his first shoulder surgery that didn't go as planned and his journey to finding Dr. Bishop who did his revision surgery which now gives him the ability to do what he loves. Finding the right doctor when you are in need makes all the difference, Mitch wishes he would have found that at Ohio State the first time around.

Our providers who treat shoulder sports injuries