Shoulder Conditions That Require Surgery

Shoulder injuries are exceedingly common, especially among athletes or those whose jobs involve a lot of physical labor.

Sometimes, shoulder pain can be a temporary issue that goes away by itself. However, in more serious situations, it can at times require surgery. Serious and milder shoulder conditions can be difficult to differentiate between, but it’s important to be able to do so.

Below, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the shoulder conditions that do require surgery and how you can spot them. Read on for everything you need to know.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles in and around your shoulder which stabilize the movement of this joint. The rotator cuff is important for free and flexible movement of the shoulder. Usually, when this group of muscles and tendons becomes damaged, it’s through an action like lifting a heavy object or falling on your shoulder.

Damage to the rotator cuff can range from a mild sprain to a full tear. The levels of pain you’re experiencing can be a good indicator of how serious your injury is. If you’re experiencing high levels of shoulder pain that won’t go away, then it’s possible you’ve torn your rotator cuff and will require rotator cuff surgery.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is another condition that involves the rotator cuff. It usually happens following the kinds of repetitive actions you’d be making while playing baseball or tennis, for example.

What happens here is that tendons in the rotator cuff become pinched when your arm is in a position lifted above your head. The more you move your arm with this condition the more inflamed and damaged your tendon becomes.

Eventually, this can lead to swelling, which serves to make the inflammation and irritation even worse. This condition is also known as rotator cuff tendinitis, and symptoms include shoulder pain and shoulder swelling. Your doctor will use methods such as a physical examination and often an X-RAY or MRI to diagnose this condition.


Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints. Around 24% of all American adults suffer from arthritis.

The inflammation that comes along with rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to the cartilage and often the bones in the shoulder. It’s a condition that can be debilitating and in severe cases can require shoulder replacement surgery. If you’ve got arthritis, you’re probably already seeing a doctor for this condition and they’ll be able to advise you about if and when shoulder surgery might be necessary.

Common Shoulder Conditions and their Interventions

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on some of the most common shoulder conditions that require surgery. If you’re suffering from shoulder pain and you’re unsure about how serious it might be, you should consult with a medical professional.

At Idaho Shoulder to Hand, we’ve got years of experience treating shoulder pain and conditions. Make an appointment with one of our providers today.