Thousands of Florida residents are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents each year, and many of them suffer debilitating shoulder impingement injuries. The shoulder is a complex joint where the humerus, scapula and clavicle meet. Shoulders provide a 180-degree range of motion because four thick muscles wrap around and protect these three bones. The protective capsule that these four muscles and their tendons provide is called the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff can tear when it is subjected to violent acceleration followed by violent deceleration, and this can lead to what is referred to as shoulder impingement syndrome.
Shoulder impingement syndrome
Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when tendons damaged by a rotator cuff tear rub against the top of the shoulder joint. An impinged shoulder can make even minor arm movements extremely painful. These shoulder injuries are most often suffered by car accident victims who clutch their steering wheels tightly prior to a collision or individuals who throw their arms out to break a fall.
Treating shoulder injuries
The early treatment of an impinged shoulder focuses on reducing swelling and inflammation and alleviating pain. Ice, heat and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce swelling an inflammation, and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications are used to reduce discomfort. Cortisone injections can also be administered to reduce inflammation, but this approach is only used when oral drugs are ineffective because cortisone can damage muscle tissue. When drugs, rest and physical therapy do not lead to recovery, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to shave or remove bone spurs and provide space for shoulder tendons.
The kind of actions that lead to impinged shoulder syndrome are driven by instinct rather than conscious thought, which suggests that these injuries may be unavoidable. When individuals develop impinged shoulder syndrome after being involved in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, the damages they are awarded could be significant. This is because these injuries are extremely painful, greatly restrict movement and recovering from surgery can take as long as six months.