Dull shoulder ache

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Report Thread starter 8 years ago
Hi Sarah! Thanks for taking part in the Q&A

About 2+ months ago, whilst playing football I was knocked to the floor, with the player falling on top of me.

Immediately after the game I couldn't lift my right arm higher than my hip without being in pain (shoulder/collar bone area). This lasted about a day and slowly got better, to the point where I thought it was going to completely heal on its own.

However now, over 2 months on I still get an ache, more when my shoulder is in the neutral standing position.

I'm pretty active, I play football at the weekends and go to the gym a number of times a week, but I did rest my shoulder for the best part of a month to let it heal. After that time I also did some light weight training, in the thought to strengthen it a little. But this doesn't seem to have had much impact either.

I know the obvious answer is to see my GP (which I will be doing) but have you got any thoughts at to what it could be?
Dr Sarah Jarvis
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Report 8 years ago
The shoulder is the most complicated joint in the body in many ways, because it has the biggest range or movement. Unfortunately, this means there are lots of things that can go wrong! Clearly after an acute trauma like yours (you don't say how big the other player was but even a smallish player can do a lot of damage if they fall with all their weight on you!) the biggest concern would have been either a fracture or the humerus/shoulderblade/breastbone, or a dislocation, which seems very unlikely from what you've described. However, following a trauma like this you're going to get a lot of inflammation, and this can cause ongoing pain and stiffness. The rotator cuff is, as it sounds, a 'cuff' of muscles all around the joint which keep it stable and help in various movements. Ripping part of this cuff won't make the shoulder completely unstable but can cause long term pain.
You do indeed need to see your GP and they will probably advise an Xray and possibly an ultrasound or even a CT/MRI scan of your shoulder to look at your rotator cuff. Depending on the damage, treatments include physiotherapy and steroid injection into the joint under ultrasound control to make sure it goes into the right place. If the symptoms have largely settled, they may recommend a course of non steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets in the first instance, but this depends what they find when they examine you
Yours sincerely

Dr Sarah Jarvis

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