The upper extremities are complex and can be injured due to sports, repetitive motions at work, or from a fall. Many shoulder and elbow problems require complex medical care to ensure the best outcomes and longest-term relief for patients who are affected.
At Advanced Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists in Washington, PA, we specialize in treating a wide range of shoulder and elbow injuries with both non-operative and operative treatments. We offer a comprehensive list of treatment options, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, injections, bracing, and surgery. Our team of highly-trained orthopaedic specialists have the experience and expertise to assess your condition and work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs.
If you're ready to find relief from shoulder and elbow pain with the best shoulder surgeon in Pittsburgh, contact Advanced Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists in Washington, PA today. We look forward to helping you get back on the path to a pain-free life!
At Advanced Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists, we specialize in treating a variety of shoulder and elbow injuries. Here are some of the conditions we treat:
Biceps Tendon Rupture:
Normally, a biceps tendon is connected to the arm bone and helps to move your arm in a flexing position. When the bicep tendon ruptures, the tendon tears and the muscle cannot pull on the bone. It becomes detached to the bone, pain and weakness present.
The rotator cuff helps guide the shoulder through many motions by allowing lift and rotation to the arm while stabilizing the ball of the shoulder within the socket. The rotator cuff consists of a group of four muscles and their tendons that wrap around to form a “cuff” over the upper end of the arm at the shoulder. There is an area of space over the top of the rotator cuff where the bursa lives. This bursa is a fluid sac between the acromion bone and the tendon.
A common condition called, Bursitis, is inflammation of this fluid sac and occurs with repetitive overhead activity or overuse of the arm. The term impingement refers to pinching of the rotator cuff tendons and bursa against the acromion bone above it.
Elbow arthritis is a very common and often progresses to a condition in which the cartilage that normally lines the surface of the elbow joint becomes worn over time and eventually wears away. This condition often is the result of overuse, injury, and sometimes
inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. While this progressive “wear and tear” of your elbow may be associated with pain, it also commonly leads to significant stiffness about the elbow. The elbow’s normal range of motion becomes limited, thus making it difficult for you to use your arm to carry out normal daily activities.
A common element related to repetitive overhead activity at work or through sports can generate a tremendous amount of forces in the elbow joint. These forces may lead to the formation of elbow spurs or loose fragments of cartilage or bone from the elbow joint surfaces. Often patients will report feeling catching or locking in the elbow joint because these chips can float through the elbow joint. Patients with elbow loose bodies or spurs complain of these locking episodes as well as difficulty in fully extending or flexing the elbow.
Medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow, is similar to its counterpart, tennis elbow, except for location of where the pain is located on the elbow as well as what activity leading up to the injury has caused this pain.
Similar to Golfer’s elbow, Lateral Epicondylitis, or Tennis Elbow, is one of the most common elbow injuries in sports. Exactly what causes tennis elbow is unknown, but it is thought to be due to small tears of the tendons that attach the muscles of the forearm to the arm bone at the elbow joint. The lateral epicondylitis usually involves the wrist extensors, a muscle group involved in the function to cock back your wrist and stabilization as in gripping a racquet, baseball bat, or club.
This is a fracture to the most prominent bone of the elbow. Often referred to as the “funny bone,” the olecranon is actually the bone at the end of the ulna, one of the two forearm bones, and is attached to the powerful triceps muscle of the arm. Since the triceps muscle is used to straighten the elbow, an olecranon fracture can greatly impair a patient’s ability to straighten the elbow joint.
The ulnar collateral ligament or UCL, is the main ligament stabilizing the inner aspect of the elbow joint during the act of throwing. It provides the stability which is necessary to throw a ball or to work and lift overhead. When an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament occurs, the instability can cause severe disruption. Sometimes an UCL tear can be from chronic repetitive overhead throwing motions or from one single traumatic event such as falling on an outstretched arm.
If the UCL tear occurs gradually, there may be a progressive ache or soreness along the inner aspect of the elbow and a throwing athlete may notice decreased velocity and control with throwing. If it occurs quickly, there is often a “pop” followed immediately by swelling and pain. Sometimes the nerves that surround the UCL can be injured too. In this occurrence, a patient may develop a numbness or tingling sensation in the middle and ring fingers.
AC Joint Separation:
A shoulder separation or acromioclavicular (AC Joint) separation is an injury to the area or junction between the shoulder and collar bone. It involves a ligament or soft-tissue injury to that area but may also include a fracture. Although this injury is usually sports related, it can happen in trauma such as falls or car accidents. A shoulder separation occurs after a fall or a sharp blow to the top of the shoulder. This is not the same as a shoulder dislocation, which occurs at the large joint where the arm attaches to the shoulder, although the two may appear to be the same.
Bankart lesion(s) of the shoulder is a tear of the labrum that causes gross instability and a recurrence of shoulder dislocations. This type of injury often occurs when the shoulder pops out of joint, thereby tearing the labrum and is quite common in younger patients.
Biceps Tendon Rupture:
A biceps tendon rupture usually occurs from an injury where the attachment separates from the bone or the tendon tears. Normally, biceps tendons are connected strongly to the bone and usually do not tear spontaneously. However, when the biceps tendon tears and ruptures, this tendon is detached. Following a biceps tendon rupture, the muscle cannot pull on the bone, and certain movements may be weakened and painful.
A broken collarbone or fractured clavicle, is the bone that connects the breastbone from the upper chest to the shoulder blade. This type of fracture usually occurs in trauma (falling, direct blow to the collarbone, or automobile accidents. It is not uncommon for this break to also occur in babies, adolescents, and athletes.
A common condition in which there is inflammation of the fluid sac above the rotator cuff muscles and occurs with repetitive overhead activity or overuse of the arm. The term impingement refers to pinching of the rotator cuff tendons and bursa against the acromion bone above it.
The shoulder socket itself is extremely shallow and unstable. The bones of the shoulder are not held in place adequately, thereby requiring extra support. To help compensate for this instability, the shoulder joint has a cuff of cartilage (labrum) that forms a cup for the end of the arm bone to move within. The labrum in the shoulder joint wraps around the shallow shoulder socket, thus making the socket deeper, and provides more stability.
When a labral tear occurs, the cartilage rim that attaches to arm and shoulder becomes unstable. This usually occurs from sports-related activities like throwing or where a shoulder or arm injury has occurred. The labrum itself may simply become brittle with age and may fray and tear as part of the aging process.
Degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage is worn away by shoulder arthritis, bare bone is exposed within the joint. Shoulder arthritis can also occur in inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition that causes an inflammation of the lining of a joint. This inflammation can, over time, invade and destroy the cartilage and bone.
Shoulder Dislocation or Separation:
A shoulder dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the arm bone (humerus) loses contact with the socket of the shoulder (scapula). This is also similar to an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation.
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome:
Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed between the head of the humerus bone and a part of the shoulder blade. This syndrome can lead to a chronic inflammatory condition that may eventually develop into the weakening of the rotator cuff tendons. Ultimately, this situation could result in a torn rotator cuff.
SLAP Lesion (Tear):
Superior Labral Anterior to Posterior or SLAP lesion can occur from a variety of injuries that cause damage to the superior portion of the labrum where the bicep tendon inserts. This usually occurs from repetitive over arm motion such as throwing a ball, falling on an outstretched arm, or lifting a heavy object. When the superior labrum is detached or torn at the site of the biceps tendon insertion, it is termed a superior labrum anterior to posterior tear (SLAP).
There are many common throwing shoulder injuries including labral tears, bursitis, tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, biceps tendon injuries, capsular contractures, and shoulder blade (scapula) dyskinesis (abnormal movement) or true winging. Common conditions which throwing athletes develop is from the loss of internal rotation from scarring of the joint capsule, scapula dyskinesis, labral tears, and rotator cuff tears known as GIRD or glenohumeral internal rotation deficit.
GIRD is the most common condition affecting the throwing shoulder. The constant, repetitive overhead throwing motion imparts high, outward, extension to the athlete’s shoulder and elbow. This can lead to either a progressive structural change, or a chronic or acute injury.
At Advanced Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists, we offer a variety of elbow procedures, along with minimally-invasive treatments such as injections and bracing.
Some of the most common procedures we perform include:
Shoulder injuries can be extremely debilitating and require specialized care. At Advanced Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialists, we provide a variety of shoulder procedures to help you find relief from pain and improve mobility.
Some of the most common procedures we offer include:
Yes! Advanced Orthopaedics is proud to be in-network with the majority of providers in the Western Pennsylvania region, including UPMC and Highmark. Visit our to learn more, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.
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