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SHOULDER INJURIES

Painful shoulder injuries are common for babies, children, teenagers, and adolescents. As doctors, we see more shoulder injuries and pain for children who participate in organized sports involving overhead activities such as baseball, volleyball, and swimming.

We understand how a shoulder injury can also injure the growth plate in your child. Our goal is to help children recover and heal successfully. We have had extra training in children’s growth plates and can factor them into our treatment plans. This allows children’s and adolescents’ bones to grow as successfully as possible.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries usually occur in the shoulder joint. Injuries that occur as a result of one particularly traumatic episode are referred to as acute injuries. In fact, when children’s skeletons are still growing, acute injuries can occur. Sometimes children’s injuries can affect the growth of the bone by injuring the growth plate. For example, shoulder growth plate fractures can occur when a child falls on the shoulder or the outstretched hand. These fractures commonly involve the upper part of the humerus bone or the clavicle. Sometimes, they are in fact clavicle fractures. Normally, growth plate injuries happen because the growing cartilage/bone become the weakest structure compared to the surrounding shoulder ligaments. Most growth plate fractures heal without complications, but these injuries often require special attention to avoid future problems with growth.

A parent’s first stop when their child has a broken shoulder bone and is in pain, is to ensure the child gets evaluated by a pediatric orthopedic physician. A pediatric Orthopedic with several years of training, like those at Medical City Children’s Orthopedic and Spine Specialists.  Our experienced surgeons understands growth plates and how to address them when contemplating the right diagnosis and treatment. Other examples of acute injuries to the shoulder include dislocation or  separation (AC Sprain). Either of these two injuries can occur with a blow to the shoulder or with a fall on the outstretched arm. Shoulder dislocations can result in a cartilage tear in the shoulder, otherwise known as a labral tear.

Overuse Injuries

Thus, injuries that occur over time because of repetitive activity are known as overuse injuries. For instance, Little League Shoulder, also referred to as chronic kids shoulder pain , occurs in a ball throwing sport. For example, a shoulder injury in a baseball player may be related to overuse and inflammation. If this condition happens around the growth plate in the upper part of the humerus bone is also referred to as proximal humeral epiphysiolysis.

Secondly, overuse injuries can also occur in the soft tissues of the shoulder (tendons, ligaments, capsule, etc.) and growth plate. Depending on the symptoms, this injury may be referred to as rotator cuff tendinitis or impingement. Some young athletes suffer from recurrent shoulder instability that interferes with their ability to continue with their sport or daily activities.

Shoulder Pain Symptoms

Usually, a child or teenager’s shoulder pain and swelling occur after a traumatic injury. The pain may occur in a specific area or to a specific particular location. Severe pain, numbness, tingling, and restriction of range of motion may indicate a more serious injury. Additionally, chronic (or overuse) injury may present more gradually, with more vague complaints of pain that are made worse with overhead activity. Overhead athletes may notice a decline in their performance due to the pain. 

Girl with sling on her arm
Boy with hurt shoulder

Shorter Recovery Times

“Hospital stays for my patients after surgery are shorter than most. I prepare the child for the surgery in advance. The preparation helps the children recover quicker after surgery, shortening their hospital stay. This may be a win-win for the children and their families.” Shyam Kishan, MD

Shoulder Surgery

In conclusion, consulting a pediatric orthopedic specialist is warranted when pain and swelling persist when using one of their arms. Especially when home treatment such as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) did not help the symptoms.  If your child is unable to return to activities or sports. Or if he or she has joint swelling, locking or instability, seeking timely professional assistance becomes essential. Consulting a pediatric orthopedic professional is especially important if your injured child is still growing. In summary, injuries that occur near the growth plate can be challenging to recognize. Appropriate treatment is necessary to ensure adequate management and successful healing.

Medical City Children’s Orthopedic and Spine Specialists’ board-certified physicians specializing in a growing skeletal system. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of injuries that affect school-age athletes. Subsequently, should surgery be required, our pediatric orthopedic physicians will discuss specialized, age-appropriate, and minimally invasive surgical options.

Services available:

  • Surgical and non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal injuries/sports injuries
  • Full-spectrum orthopedic care: complex fractures, ligament and cartilage trauma/injury, limb deformity, hand/upper extremity conditions, spine, and hip disease/conditions)
  • State-of-the-art EOS low radiation X-ray (new imaging technology with low-dose radiation and enhanced clinical imaging)

Our experienced and skilled physicians at Medical City Children’s Orthopedic and Spine Specialists diagnose and treat shoulder conditions.

Call 214-556-0590 to make an appointment.

Comprehensive services for children from birth through adolescence at four
convenient locations: Arlington, Dallas, Frisco and McKinney.