How Does Aging Impact Your Shoulders?

How Does Aging Impact Your Shoulders?

Throughout your life, your shoulders are there to help you with your everyday tasks and special activities. From playing sports to painting your house, your shoulders are vital to whatever you need to accomplish. 

As you get older, however, your shoulder joint takes a hit and often leave you with pain and discomfort. 

At Mehling Orthopedics, our team has the answer to your shoulder problems. With the latest treatment options and an expert team, Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit are ready to give you the compassionate and specialized care for your shoulders. They offer both conservative and surgical treatments for a variety of shoulder issues.

Anatomy of your shoulder

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that’s formed by three bones: the humerus, the clavicle, and the shoulder blade. Your humerus fits like a puzzle piece into your glenoid, which is the socket portion of the joint.

A number of tendons and muscles help to keep your joint in place and allow you to move properly. The group of muscles that covers the humeral head is called your rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff consists of the supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and infraspinatus. These are all muscles, and their attached tendons keep your shoulder joint secure and allow you to move and lift your arm.

There are also little sacs that contain lubricating liquid underneath the rotator cuff tendons. These bursa sacs allow your joint to move smoothly by keeping the rotator cuff tendons lubricated. However, the bursa can become painful and inflamed when there’s damage to the rotator cuff.

The effects of aging on your shoulders

As you get older, there are predictable changes in your bones, muscles, and joints. Your shoulders take the brunt of the changes, because they’re used so much. 

You may notice that your shoulders are more stiff than normal. This is due to restricted motion and decreased flexibility, which is caused by a loss of collage in your tendons and ligaments. 

Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects the joints of older people. It causes the protective tissues within your joint to wear away and creates pain and inflammation. 

Calcifications in your shoulder are common as you get older. These areas are caused by excess minerals depositing in the joint. This leads to pain and discomfort in some cases.

The lubricating fluid in the bursa sacs also decreases as you get older. It causes your joint to move less smoothly, and can create issues with your rotator cuff as well. The rotator cuff is also prone to wear and tear, leading to trouble with certain movements in your arm.

When to see a doctor

Sometimes, shoulder pain goes away on its own, especially when it’s something minor. However, if you’re older and the pain isn’t getting better with conservative home care, it’s time to get help from our team.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to a fall or car accident, it’s important to seek help right away. The same goes for pain that comes on suddenly without an apparent cause. Other reasons you should see Dr. Mehling or Dr. Yufit for shoulder pain include:

The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damage your shoulder could be sustaining.

Dr. Mehling and Dr. Yufit offer several treatment options when it comes to your aging shoulders. With osteoarthritis and normal wear and tear, they recommend conservative measures such as physical therapy and steroid injections.

However, if your shoulder pain is severe and there’s a lot of damage to the joint, the team recommends surgical repair of the joint. This can be done arthroscopically or open, depending on what’s best for you and your condition.

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, or West Islip, New York, to schedule a consultation today. You can also send the doctors a message here on our website any time.

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