We will all suffer a shoulder injury in our lifetimes, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Many of these will be relatively minor strains or separations. Others will not be so lucky. They will suffer fractures that affect their ability to move their arm, putting their job, ability to care for themselves and enjoy life in jeopardy.

Perhaps the three most common types of shoulder injuries are fractures, dislocations and soft-tissue injuries.

  • A fracture is a broken bone. In the shoulder, an accident can cause fractures in the clavicle (collar bone), proximal humerus or scapula (shoulder blade).
  • The shoulder has three joints, any of which can become dislocated. When the acromioclavicular joint dislocates, that is known as a separated shoulder. The joint between the clavicle and breastbone can also dislocate, as can the shoulder’s “ball and socket” joint.
  • Soft-tissue injuries refer to any tears of the shoulder’s ligaments, tendons, muscles or joint capsule.

Treatment options depend on what type of injury the victim has sustained, and its location within the shoulder. For instance, most shoulder fractures do not require surgery, but a significant percentage of broken scapulae need to be operated upon, because of bone fragments in one of the joints or an additional fracture in the collar bone. Immobilizing the shoulder is typically necessary, followed by physical therapy.

A shoulder injury can be very painful and debilitating. It can affect the victim for weeks, or even months in some cases. When someone else negligently caused your shoulder injury, that other party should be held responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.