top of page

The Most Common Shoulder Injuries & What To Do About It

As sports and gardening season approaches, shoulders are a very common area we assess and treat in the clinic. Here are the Top 4 most common shoulder injuries we see and what you can do about it:

Rotator cuff

There are 6 structures that make up the intrinsic muscle group of the shoulder: The deltoid, the teres major and the 4 rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis). The most common rotator cuff that is injured is usually the supraspinatus. When dealing with rotator cuff injuries, you’re generally looking at overused anterior muscles (pecs, biceps, upper traps, anterior scalenes) and weak posterior muscles (the rotator cuffs, lower rhomboids, lower traps, serratus anterior).

Some hands-on therapy to relieve pain and improve range of motion will be beneficial but strengthening will prevent this injury from returning.

Shoulder instability

Instability of the shoulder means the ball of the shoulder joint doesn’t sit firmly in the socket and therefore the ball may slide out and stay out (dislocated) or it may slide out and slide back into the socket (subluxation). This can occur traumatically (ie. direct force like getting hit on the shoulder) or non-traumatically (ie. no direct force applied which can be seen commonly in people with very loose joints and especially in people diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome).

Multiple shoulder instability occurrences can increase risk of damage to surrounding structures such as the cartilage, the labrum, the rotator cuff, etc.

Treatment consists of hands-on therapy, strengthening surrounding weakened structures, activity modification and possibly bracing to increase strength and stability.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder aka adhesive capsulitis is an injury more commonly seen in females in the 40-60 year old age range. Other potential risk factors include if you’ve had a recent shoulder injury, a stroke or hyper/hypothyroidism.

Frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder joint capsule’s connective tissue becomes inflamed, stiff and thickened. It can be incredibly painful to the point where the individual may not want to move the arm and shoulder which actually makes this condition worse. Mvmt is your friend.

Hands-on therapeutic treatments and supervised exercises are the best treatments for this condition. Treatment will be painful but the relief is immense when done correctly.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of a joint.

Osteoarthritis is inflammation of a joint caused by mechanical wear and tear.

Rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation of a joint due to the body’s own immune system attacking the body joint. This is an autoimmune disease.

Arthritis is generally seen in 50+ year olds.

Osteoarthritis is seen in older adults who have experienced traumatic injuries to the joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis can start at any age and is hereditary.

Arthritis and osteoarthritis is generally non-symmetrical.

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually symmetrical and happens bilaterally (both sides of the body).

Treatment for all 3 include hands-on therapy, joint traction, mobility exercises, proper hydration and nutrition.

Rheumatoid arthritis individuals will also be prescribed medications that suppress the immune system to prevent it from attacking the joints.

Corticosteroid injections may be recommended if individual does not see improvements with therapy and exercises.

*Note: Corticosteroid does not guarantee pain free joints and does not mean you stop rehabilitative exercises.

Join our MECH Shoulder Fitness class in May to see what exercises you should be doing for these conditions.

Friday May 5 @ 5pm - Exercises for rotator cuff injuries

Friday May 12 @ 5pm - Exercises for shoulder instability

Friday May 19 @ 5pm - Exercises for frozen shoulder

Friday May 26 @ 5pm - Exercises for shoulder arthritis/OA/RA

Call (647)498-MVMT (6868) to book your spot or book online at

Jeannette Quach

Certified Athletic Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist

Please direct any questions about the article or any sports/injury/motherhood questions to

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page