Much of shoulder pain is the result of tendon injuries, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Tendons connect muscles to bones. When an injury to the Achilles tendon in the lower leg occurs, it’s most often a tear between muscle and tendon, but in the shoulder it’s the separation between tendon and bone. That’s according to shoulder expert Edward McFarland at Johns Hopkins.

McFarland: The shoulder’s tendons sort of tear off the bone as opposed to tearing where the muscle meets the tendon. As you get more mature these tendons start to slowly degenerate. This causes them to hurt with too much stress. We're not sure why that happens but we know that if tendons have too much stress over short period of time a lot of times it's not really inflammation as we know it it's really considered something that's more of an osis. So we call it painful tendinosis, which is doesn't really matter very much but it does in terms of what sort of things you use to try to make it get better.  :30

McFarland says oral medicines, steroid injections and physical therapy can all be helpful, as are icing and rest. Much less often surgery may be an option. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.