Shoulder pain

"The shoulder is the most frequently dislocated joint, especially in young people and athletes".


The shoulder is a complex joint and presents a very frequent and varied pathology. It is the most frequently dislocated joint, especially in young people and athletes.

Sometimes a residual instability and multiple episodes of dislocation occur as a consequence.

The pain in the shoulder area can be a local problem of the joint or be related to a problem originating elsewhere.

When diagnosing shoulder pain, your specialist should take a careful history and perform a thorough physical examination to distinguish between local and distant shoulder pain.

Ultrasound is a non-traumatic procedure often used in shoulder pathology with great sensitivity and specificity.

What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?

The most common symptoms are:

  • Radiated pain.
  • Local pain.
  • Loss of mobility.
Imagen preview de infográfico sobre la tendinopatía de hombro. Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Learn what it is, why it occurs, and how shoulder pain is treated (available in spanish).

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a shoulder problem

Causes of shoulder pain

It is the most frequent location. Calcium is deposited mainly in the supraspinatus tendon. The most frequent age of appearance is between 30-50 years. The causes are microtraumas, small tears, local inflammation or degenerative disorders.

It is characterized by an acute picture of constant intense pain, especially to the mobilization and inability to move the arm. The pain in the movement is more painful between 30º-90º of separation of the arm. Shoulder x-rays show calcification in the area of insertion of the supraspinatus tendon into the trochyte.

The fastest and most effective treatment may be infiltration. If they are well indicated and placed where the problem is, and no more than three with a minimum interval between them of three weeks, they are very effective. The most frequent is to infiltrate corticoids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory.

Rehabilitation in the form of electro and laser therapy can be useful on many occasions. In chronic problems it is necessary to resort to surgical arthroscopy if conservative treatments fail.

The painful picture of the shoulder accompanied by significant functional limitation is known as frozen shoulder.

It is often associated with other pathologies and has a complex and prolonged medical treatment.

  • Medication: with analgesics, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic drugs.
  • Surgical: arthroscopy and capsulotomy in the last case, when the capsule is very retracted and then mobilization is impossible.

Generally, there is a previous degenerative basis. The supraspinatus component of the cuff, being the most frequent location of degenerative alterations and the one that supports the greatest functional overload, is the most affected.

If the rupture is not total, the separation of the shoulder can be continued. If the break is significant, it produces a great inability to lift the arm, and repair is necessary.

It can often produce pain, and eventually rupture the tendon, with the sign of the ball falling into the arm.

Synovitis produces pain radiating to the biceps that increases with mobilization and palpation.

Generally the clinic is of a chronic pain little disabling. Often the sign of the fallen ball is seen in rheumatoid arthritis, in which, the spontaneous rupture of the tendons is frequent.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology covers the full spectrum of congenital or acquired conditions of the musculoskeletal system including trauma and its aftermath.

Since 1986, the Clinica Universidad de Navarra has had an excellent bank of osteotendinous tissue for bone grafting and offers the best therapeutic alternatives.

Organized in care units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in arthroscopic surgery.
  • Highly qualified professionals who perform pioneering techniques to solve traumatological injuries.
  • One of the centers with the most experience in bone tumors.

Our team of professionals