Shoulder injuries are commonly treated by placing the arm in a sling and stabilizing the shoulder joint. Stabilizing the joint allows the muscles and tendons to heal and will give them time to regain their strength. After the inflammation goes away, the doctor may allow the patient to resume regular movements of the shoulder as long as they do not put any undue stress on the joint. The pain and inflammation in the joint can be effectively treated with over the counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories. Because of the complexity of the joint, it is important to choose a physician who specializes in shoulder injuries and effective treatment options.
Depending on the severity of the injury and the type of damage that was done, shoulder injuries may take from four to eight weeks to fully heal. Tears to the tendons and ligaments take the longest to heal. Tendons and ligaments have a smaller blood supply than actual muscle tissue. This means that it takes longer for the damaged areas to receive the proper nutrition they need to heal properly. Dislocations of the shoulder joint can also take longer to heal than other injuries. If the humeral head is allowed to slip out of the small socket that allows it to move in any direction, the tendons and ligaments will become damaged, either through stretching or tearing. The sooner it is returned to its original location, the less damage to the joint and the shorter the healing time.
Arthritis commonly develops in joints that have been injured. Doctors do not really know if arthritis will end up in a previously damaged joint. It will often depend on the extent of the original injury and how well the area healed during the recovery period. Arthritis often takes hold in joints that are compromised in some way. The build up of scar tissue from recurring or extensive damage to a joint can increase a person's risk of an arthritis diagnosis. The more scar tissue a person has the more stress and strain on the joints. This can cause the bones of the joint to begin to erode or wear away, creating more inflammation and scar tissues, increasing the risk of arthritis