sports injuries

Daniel Schwartz, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Shoulder Specialist, Seattle, WA

About shoulder sports injuries:

Sports shoulder injuries refer to a range of injuries that occur in the shoulder as a result of athletic activities. These injuries can vary in severity and may affect different structures within the shoulder joint. Participating in sports can be immensely rewarding, offering physical fitness, camaraderie, and a sense of achievement. However, the dynamic and often intense nature of athletic activities can also expose individuals to the risk of shoulder injuries. The shoulder, being a complex and highly mobile joint, is particularly susceptible to various injuries during sports engagement.

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Common Sports-Related Shoulder Injuries

  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
    • Explain the role of the rotator cuff in shoulder stability.
    • Discuss common causes, such as overuse or traumatic injuries.
    • Symptoms and signs of rotator cuff injuries.
  • Labral Tears
    • Provide an overview of the labrum and its function.
    • Detail how labral tears can occur in sports activities.
    • Describe symptoms associated with labral tears.
  • Dislocations and Instabilities
    • Explain how shoulder dislocations and instabilities can happen during sports.
    • Differentiate between traumatic and chronic instability.
    • Highlight symptoms, such as recurrent dislocations.
  • Fractures
    • Discuss types of shoulder fractures common in sports.
    • Outline causes and potential complications.
    • Mention symptoms indicating a possible fracture.

Treatment Options

  • Non-Surgical Treatments
    • Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
    • Anti-inflammatory medications.
    • Lifestyle modifications and activity adjustments.
  • Surgical Treatments
    • Arthroscopic procedures for minimally invasive repairs.
    • Open surgery for complex cases.
    • Shoulder stabilization surgeries for instability issues.
    • Fracture fixation procedures.
  • Rehabilitation and Recovery
    • Emphasize the importance of post-surgical rehabilitation.
    • Provide an overview of the recovery timeline.
    • Highlight the role of physical therapy in restoring shoulder function

Types Surgeries

Shoulder surgeries are diverse and can address a range of issues, from traumatic injuries to degenerative conditions. The type of shoulder surgery required depends on the specific diagnosis and the extent of the injury. Here are some common types of shoulder surgeries:

  • Rotator Cuff Repair:
    • Description: Surgical repair of torn or damaged tendons in the rotator cuff.
    • Common Applications: Tears in the rotator cuff due to overuse, trauma, or degeneration.
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy:
    • Description: Minimally invasive surgery using a small camera (arthroscope) and small incisions to diagnose and treat various shoulder conditions.
    • Common Applications: Treatment of rotator cuff tears, labral tears, and joint inflammation.
  • Shoulder Stabilization Surgery:
    • Description: Procedures to address shoulder instability, including dislocations.
    • Common Applications: Bankart repair for anterior shoulder instability, Latarjet procedure, and capsular shift surgeries.
  • Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty):
    • Description: Replacement of the damaged shoulder joint with a prosthetic implant.
    • Common Applications: Severe joint arthritis or degenerative conditions affecting the entire shoulder joint.
  • Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement:
    • Description: A variation of shoulder arthroplasty where the positions of the ball and socket in the shoulder joint are reversed.
    • Common Applications: Used when there is a significant loss of rotator cuff function.
  • AC Joint Reconstruction:
    • Description: Surgical repair or reconstruction of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint.
    • Common Applications: Injuries or dislocations of the AC joint.
  • Clavicle Fracture Repair:
    • Description: Surgical fixation of a broken collarbone (clavicle).
    • Common Applications: Fractures of the clavicle, often resulting from a fall or impact.
  • Biceps Tenodesis:
    • Description: Surgical reattachment of the biceps tendon to a different location.
    • Common Applications: Treatment of long head of the biceps tendon injuries or inflammation.
  • Labrum Repair:
    • Description: Surgical repair of tears or damage to the labrum, the cartilaginous ring around the shoulder socket.
    • Common Applications: Labral tears resulting from trauma or overuse.
  • Subacromial Decompression:
    • Description: Surgical removal of bone spurs or inflamed tissue in the subacromial space.
    • Common Applications: Treatment for impingement syndrome.
  • Nerve Decompression (e.g., for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome):
    • Description: Surgical release of compressed nerves to alleviate symptoms.
    • Common Applications: Addressing nerve compression issues, such as 
    • thoracic outlet syndrome.

Patient testimonials

Patient Testimonials

“Hello Dr. Schwartz & Melissa : ) Congratulations on your move! It sounds like your expertise is I consider you absolutely tops in your profession and your dedication. You have saved me from debilitating pain and instability from my injured shoulders. You and your team have always treated me with up most care and professionalism.. Your expertise and healing powers where evident from my first visit onward...I immediately felt GREAT and reassured that I made the right decision! I will have no problem recommending Dr. Schwartz M.D. to anyone. Thank-you.”


Wondering if someone could tell Dr. Schwartz that the Deltoid muscle lift exercises are definitely helping. It seems to be getting a little stronger already. I can’t lift my arm by itself yet, but, I can easily lower my arm slowly now, and my reach is a little better, too. I was even able to easily reach down to lace and tie my own hiking boots today! . I really appreciate him, so didn’t want to wait to tell him till my next appointment in January.”


“Dr Schwartz, You performed should surgery on my shoulder two years ago and I have had a great outcome! I am from Alaska and flew down to have you fix my shoulder so that I could resume my life as a massage therapist. Everything is going great!! I so appreciate your help in my recovery. The reason I am writing is that I have a client with a reverse shoulder surgery and I am trying to help him recover but I am not able to really figure out how the muscles all work to move the shoulder...I find that the deltoid is the main mover now but I was wondering if you had any resources to help my understand how all the muscles attach now so that I can help my client. His surgery was in California in January so not done in your office. I realize that this may be a lot to ask but if you could help I'd appreciate it. Thanks! ~wendy hooker PS We had our first big Aurora show last night and it was spectacular!! :)”


“I was put at ease from my 1st visit with Dr. Schwartz. He and Joy, his nurse, and surgery schedulers were very professional and thorough. Most of all, I felt very comfortable on the day of surgery, and afterwards. Dr. Schwartz was very thorough in his explanations. It was so nice to see my surgeon and nurse the morning of surgery smiling at me. Overall a very positive experience!”


“I’ve had very positive experiences with my treatment and the staff. I’ve been really happy with the results of my shoulder surgery (rotator cuff repair) and am more than happy to make referrals of my friends to see Dr. Schwartz and Joy in clinic! If I had to do it all over again, I no doubt would return to see Dr. Schwartz at The Sports Medicine Clinic.”


“I had my shoulder replaced with Dr. S and my shoulder has not felt this good in years! I can finally sleep peacefully at night, and move my arm in ways I could have only dreamed off preop! If you have questions ask Dr. S to send you my way, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about getting you shoulder replaced with him.tions ask Dr. S to send you my way, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about getting you shoulder replaced with him.”


“I suffered from multiple shoulder dislocations, and was treated surgically by Dr. Dan Schwartz and was impressed by his thoroughness from the start. He listened very well, and I felt at ease with him from the start. He explained all of the surgical options, and we proceeded with the right option that was right for me. Since surgery, I have been so happy and have strongly recommended him to anyone that will listen! Thanks Dr. Schwartz!”


Thank you so much Dr. Daniel Schwartz for your great work! As a Physical Therapist I did a lot of research to find a shoulder surgeon highly qualified to carry out my Mother's reverse shoulder replacement. I appreciated your taking the time to explain the procedure to my parents, and the surgery turned out better than my mom ever expected. Your staff was kind, professional, and competent. It was well worth the drive from Eastern Washington and I will recommend you to all my patients in need of a shoulder surgery.”


This is the first online comment that I have ever left for a person, product or service, however I was so impressed by Dr. Schwartz as a human being and a surgeon that I felt compelled to share my story. I had a bone chip in my elbow that intermittently (depending where it floated) rendered my elbow immobile. Despite a fairly lengthy procedure, within two days I had minimal swelling and near full mobility. I should note that I was the last patient of the week on Friday afternoon (most medical advisers would recommend against this time slot), and Dr. Schwartz"s previous operation had been particularly challenging. Yet he was kind, caring, and focused in our pre-operative meeting and he performed flawlessly. I might also note that I'm a guy who tries to avoid hospitals and doctors whenever possible, in fact I didn't even go to my primary care doctor until months after the ski accident that caused my injury. I would give kudos to Dr. Schwartz and special mention of his nurse, Joy, during my exams and surgery for allaying my fears and phobias and making the whole episode as good as one could ever expect.”

Gary P Ballard

Dr. Schwartz and Joy are the best!!”


“Greetings: I am an attorney who represents Ms. Laura Kent, a former patient of Dr. Schwartz in 2018. This case is coming up for arbitration in a couple weeks and I would like to get an opinion from Dr. Schwartz as to whether the diagnosis he made oflateral epicondylitis of the right elbow was causally connected to the motor vehicle collision in this matter. Please call or email at your earliest convenience.”

Joe Baker

Just a note to say thank you for the thorough and well-composed information about rotator cuff and sleep. It was really the best I could find. Much gratitude.”


“Was referred by a past patient of yours. Would like to see how quickly I could get in for a Grade 3 AC tear.”


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