Q. I fell one week ago on a cruise ship and hurt my right shoulder. I am 48 and right handed. When I fell, I heard a pop and my shoulder really hurt. Since the injury, the pain is less but I feel really weak when I bring my arm across my stomach or overhead. My primary care doctor in Miami took X-rays and determined that nothing is broken. Will my shoulder get better on its own or should I see a specialist?
A. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible as you may have a significant injury to your shoulder. There are four muscles that come together to form a tendon that attaches to the ball part of the shoulder that let you bring your shoulder overhead and rotate inwards and outwards. This tendon is known as the rotator cuff tendon. In a young individual such as yourself, if this tendon is torn from the bone, it usually requires surgery to fix. It is also possible you might have a labral cartilage tear or a non displaced fracture. Your physician may order an MRI scan to aid in the diagnosis.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.