What Is the Purpose of Soft Tissue Injections in the Shoulder?

Soft tissue injections are one source of treatment for pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. This article will walk you through how soft tissue injections work and when they may be helpful.


Overview of soft tissue injections in the shoulder

Soft tissue injections can be used in the soft tissue of the shoulder joint to offer pain relief, restore the shoulder’s range of motion, and reduce inflammation in the joint.

Typically, a soft tissue injection could be administered if there is inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder joint. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that rests along the top of the shoulder joint and reduces friction at the intersection of bone, muscles, and tendons. This inflammation can also extend to other soft tissue areas in the shoulder joint.

This treatment injects corticosteroids into the inflamed region to help relieve the inflammation in the joint that is causing pain and discomfort. Because corticosteroids are powerful and can contribute to other side effects, patients are often limited to a handful per year.


Causes of soft tissue inflammation in the shoulder

Soft tissue areas in the shoulder joint can become inflamed for a variety of reasons, including

  • Repetitive stress on the shoulder from sports or other activities
  • Sudden injury that affects the shoulder joint
  • Age-related wear-and-tear
  • Improper posture that puts pressure on the joint

Inflammation can develop when the shoulder joint is frequently stressed, which makes athletes more susceptible to it. Older adults with osteoarthritis or other joint conditions are also more likely to experience inflammation in the shoulder joint.


Symptoms of soft tissue inflammation in the shoulder

Inflammation in the shoulder joint can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the shoulder joint (especially during movement)
  • Swelling of the shoulder
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Redness or warmth
  • Difficulty moving the affected shoulder
  • Limited range of shoulder motion

A soft tissue injection may help relieve the pain and swelling of soft tissue in the shoulder joint and can restore range of motion.


Treatment for soft tissue inflammation: soft tissue injections in the shoulder

Inflammation of the soft tissue in the shoulder can first be treated with an array of conservative treatments, including

  • Resting the affected shoulder (avoiding activity that further stresses the shoulder joint)
  • Applying cold and heat to the affected shoulder
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Trying physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the shoulder

For cases that do not respond well to these treatments, a soft tissue injection may be beneficial. A soft tissue injection is administered into the inflamed soft tissue region of the joint and releases corticosteroids that relieve inflammation and pain in the shoulder. An anesthetic injection is typically administered first before the injection into the soft tissue so that the doctor can more precisely target the injection.

An orthopaedic specialist will determine the exact course of treatment depending on the individual case, including the location and severity of the inflammation.


Soft tissue injections in the shoulder at OAR

Soft tissue inflammation in the shoulder can be painful and debilitating if left untreated. Our orthopaedic specialists and surgeons at OAR are committed to offering effective pain relief that will help you get back to your favorite activities.

If you’re suffering from persistent shoulder pain, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you find relief.

Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.


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