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Treatment Plans

for common shoulder conditions

What do I do?

We have treatment advice for the conditions shown below. Each section displays the commonly affected area and the Signs & Symptoms for that condition.

If you want to learn more on how to best manage the condition, simply click the “Get Advice” button to continue.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Gradual onset of stiffness and pain, worse with movement.
  • Morning Stiffness less than 30 minutes.
  • Disturbed Sleep.
  • Crepitus feeling when moving shoulder.
  • Most common in elderly population.
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Shoulder Impingement

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Pain usually felt at mid-point when lifting arm upwards.
  • Catches of pain.
  • Pain over outside of shoulder.
  • Sleep disturbance (lying on painful side).
  • Worse when arm in elevation.
  • Common to affect work and activities of daily living.
  • Most commonly affects middle aged people.

Acromioclavicular joint

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Pain felt over the top of shoulder (where collar bone meets shoulder)
  • Painful when arm elevated above 150°.
  • Painful when arm crossed over body.
  • May have history of fall on to shoulder
  • May have lump or step deformity where collarbone meets shoulder.
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Adhesive Capsulitis​

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Significant loss of shoulder movement (especially turning arm outwards and elevating arm.
  • Pain level can be high in early stages and lessen with time.
  • Joint stiffness can sometimes last up to 18 months+.
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Usually age>40
  • More common in people who are diabetic.

Shoulder Instability

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • History of shoulder dislocation
  • History of shoulder popping in and out (subluxating).
  • Sometimes occur without trauma and is due to shoulder capsule being naturally more lax.
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Degenerative Cuff Tear​

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Usually occurs in people over age of 40.
  • Unable to lift arm out to side (if large tear)
  • Pain usually felt during mid-range when lifting arm upwards.
  • Catches in certain positions
  • May have crepitus
  • May be unable to hold arm up.
  • Upper arm pain
  • Night pain

Acute Cuff Tear

affected area
Signs & Symptoms
  • Sudden inability to lift/ move arm
  • History of trauma

Legal disclaimer

  • This information was published by MSKnote’s Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
  • The information contained by msk assist is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.
  • The exercises provided are intended for your personal use and for informational purposes only.
  • Stop the exercises if they make your symptoms worse or cause new pain.
  • Exercise is not without its risks and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. They include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat and very rare instances of heart attack.
  • To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, please consult a healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation.
  • MSKnote disclaims any liability from and in connection with the information and exercises provided on this website. 
  • The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

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