What are the Most Common Shoulder Injuries?

Shoulder injuries are very common among athletes. The purpose of this article is to identify which ones are the most common and how we can prevent them. Find out more!

Shoulder injuries are very common among athletes. Indeed, it is a complex part of the body. These injuries can therefore be very uncomfortable and affect your routine because they easily worsen with movement.

It is true that shoulder pain and injury can considerably hinder the ability to move freely and without discomfort. However, you should be aware that this type of injury can be acute or chronic, depending on when the diagnosis is made and the duration of the pain or disability.

Nevertheless, most shoulder problems involve muscles, ligaments and tendons, rather than bones. The discomfort can then develop slowly through repetitive and intensive training routines. That’s why it’s necessary to know what the most common shoulder injuries are and how to prevent them.

Most Common Shoulder Injuries

We present the most common shoulder injuries in sportsmen and women.

1. Tendinitis, one of the most common shoulder injuries

The first of the most common shoulder injuries is tendinitis. First of all, be aware that a tendon is a cord that connects the muscle with the bone and, therefore, most tendinitis results from inflammation of the tendon. The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the rotator cuff tendon and one of the biceps tendons.

2. Bursitis

Bursae are small fluid-filled bags that are found in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between the bones and the soft tissue covering them. At the same time, they help to reduce friction between sliding muscles and bone.

Sometimes, overuse of the shoulder causes inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and part of the scapula. 

3. Instability

Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the bone in the upper arm is forced out of the shoulder. This can occur as a result of sudden injury or overuse.

Dislocations of the shoulder can be partial, with the ball of the upper arm partially protruding from the cavity. This is called a subluxation. A complete dislocation means that the ball comes completely out of the socket.

Once the ligaments, tendons and muscles surrounding the shoulder weaken or tear, the dislocations may recur. Recurring dislocations, which may be partial or complete, cause pain and instability when the arm is lifted or moved away from the body. Similarly, repeated episodes of subluxations or dislocations produce a greater risk of developing arthritis in the joint.

The important thing is not to have fallen, but to have been able to get up again.

-Vince Lombardi-

4. Tendon tears

Separation and tearing of tendons can result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advanced age, long-term overuse, wear and tear or sudden injury. These ruptures may be partial or completely separate the tendon from its attachment to the bone.

Indeed, in most complete ruptures, the tendon separates from its union with the bone. Injuries to the rotator tendon and biceps tendon are among the most common.

5. The frozen shoulder

This condition greatly limits the movement of the joint. It causes the accumulation of abnormal bands of tissue in the joint, preventing freedom of movement in the shoulder. This joint can then freeze because pain or surgery has caused it to become paralyzed for a while, allowing adhesions to accumulate.

6. Arthritis

It is triggered when the smooth cartilage surfaces that cover the bones of the shoulder joint wear out. The most common cause is overuse. On the other hand, treatments for shoulder arthritis depend on the severity of the pain.

However, rest is most appropriate in these cases, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections. In some cases, shoulder joint replacement is necessary.

What can be done to prevent shoulder injuries?

The first step in preventing shoulder injury is to use proper fitting materials, especially shoulder pads. Be sure to wear protective gear at the beginning of each workout.

Another preventive measure is to practice proper approach and blocking techniques. You can also participate in a strengthening and conditioning program to help strengthen the shoulder and make it more flexible and less prone to injury.

Furthermore, it is important to always listen to your body. If your shoulder hurts after an activity, don’t ignore it. Similarly, if you feel that the pain is serious and does not go away, consult a doctor.

Finally, we advise you to prepare yourself properly for exercise. This means warming up before and after training. Therefore, start the sport slowly and progress gradually.

Finally, remember that the vast majority of the most common shoulder injuries are caused by sport, intense exercise or lifting heavy weights. This is why you must be particularly careful when engaging in these types of activities.


Hi, I'm Steven Franklin and I'm the founder of Injuries.org. This site is a collection of resources related to personal and sports injuries, while also providing resources for injury law firms and attorneys as well.