At Tahoe Forest Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we are focused on a better you. Our specialty-trained doctors and staff are dedicated to providing specialized shoulder care to patients in Truckee, Incline Village, and the surrounding communities.

A shoulder specialist is a medical doctor who treats patients with a range of shoulder injuries and conditions. To understand how a shoulder doctor can care for a patient with shoulder pain, it helps to know more about the shoulder anatomy.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint and includes the scapula, clavicle, and humerus bones as well as soft tissues, like tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. The shoulder is flexible and capable of many movements, but it is also highly unstable. Because of this, the shoulder joint is easily injured.

One part of the shoulder that is frequently injured is the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that house the joint. When a shoulder surgeon examines a patient with a rotator cuff tear, he or she will see if it is a partial or complete tear and determine what type of rotator cuff repair will be needed. Surgery on the rotator cuff can often be performed using arthroscopy, which is a procedure that uses a tiny surgical instrument with a camera that is inserted into a small incision to view the rotator cuff. Another type of orthopedic surgery a shoulder surgeon might perform is a shoulder replacement or reverse shoulder replacement.

While injuries and fractures happen, shoulder pain can also be caused by conditions like arthritis. Specialty-trained surgeons and doctors can help these patients as well, designing a treatment plan that may or may not involve an arthroscopic procedure or another type of shoulder surgery. Regardless of the treatment, the ultimate goal is always the same: to help the patient experience reduced or eliminated pain and a better quality of life.

What Your Doctor Needs to Know

When you have an appointment with a shoulder specialist or surgeon, you’ll have an opportunity to describe your pain. Here are some issues that you may be noticing that you’ll want to share with your doctor:

  • Combined elbow and shoulder pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Moving shoulder becomes more and more difficult
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling or tenderness

Common Shoulder Issues

Your doctor may diagnose you with one of the following shoulder conditions:

  • Biceps tendonitis: Inflammation of a primary tendon. Biceps tenodesis is the name of the shoulder surgery used to repair biceps tendonitis. During this surgery, the surgeon moves the tendon from the shoulder joint further down the arm bone.
  • Dislocation: Many times, dislocations are sports-related and surgical procedures are not needed. Instead, a doctor manipulates the arm bone back into the socket.
  • Frozen shoulder: Tissue surrounding the shoulder joint becomes thick and forms scar tissue. Anti-inflammatory medications can help with the pain. Develops gradually and goes away on its own. Surgery is only used in extreme cases, typically through an arthroscopic procedure.
  • Rotator cuff tears: Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is one type of shoulder surgery a surgeon may recommend. Arthroscopy is minimally invasive and the recovery is usually faster in comparison to traditional open surgery.
  • Shoulder arthritis: Sometimes cortisone injections can be used to help reduce the swelling, pain, and stiffness associated with arthritis in the shoulder. Other treatments are available as well.
  • Sports-related injuries: Many shoulder injuries are sports-related. For instance, a baseball pitcher or swimmer may develop a shoulder overuse injury. 
  • Tennis elbow: Sometimes pain that is experienced in the shoulder may, in fact, be coming from the elbow. While tennis elbow primarily affects the elbow, the pain can shoot upwards into the shoulder as well. Usually, elbow surgery is not necessary.

Once you are diagnosed, your doctor will first consider all nonsurgical treatment options, such as physical therapy, before recommending surgery. However, if these treatments are ineffective, they will explain why and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. If surgery is required, our surgeons have extensive training in the latest surgical procedures for the shoulder, including total shoulder replacement for severe arthritis of the shoulder joint.

When you have shoulder pain, it can take a toll on your whole life. Our shoulder specialists are not only medical experts, but they’re also knowledgeable professionals who want to do more than just treat your shoulder; they want to help you get back to what you love. To schedule an appointment, call (530) 587-7461 or request an appointment online.    

Exceptional Care Begins at Tahoe Forest Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

At Tahoe Forest Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our team of dedicated orthopedic experts is here for you. As specialty-trained and knowledgeable shoulder doctors and surgeons, Dr. Jeffrey Dodd, Dr. John Foley, Dr. Paul Haeder, Dr. Jonathan Hagen, Dr. Jonathan Hagen, Dr. Andrew Ringnes, and Dr. Nina Winans are backed by the latest state-of-the-art technology and have extensive experience to bring you the very best in orthopedic care. Our shoulder doctors have the surgical and nonsurgical expertise you need to reach your goals.

If you have a shoulder injury or condition, call (530) 587-7461 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert shoulder doctors or surgeons or request an appointment online. We have convenient locations in Truckee and Incline Village.