Where Does it Hurt Series

Ankle/Foot | Back | Elbow | Head/Neck | Hips/Thighs | Knee | Shin/Calf | Shoulder | Wrist/Hand

* Please Note: Below is a listing of some but not all conditions that physical therapists treat. This page is intended for informational purposes only. The information below should in no way be considered complete and in no way should be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or other healthcare provider for more information on the condition that concerns you.


Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is the common name of adhesive capsulitis, an inflammatory condition that restricts motion in the shoulder. The tissues around the joint stiffen, adhesions (internal scar tissue) form, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful.

The condition sometimes occurs because of lack of use due to pain caused by injury, but can also arise with no obvious cause. Those associated with an increased risk for this condition include those with diabetes, shoulder trauma (including surgery), hyperthyroidism, and a history of open heart disease or cervical disk disease.


  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Limited Motion

Separated Shoulder

The shoulders are the most mobile joints in the body, but unfortunately this makes them prone to injury. A shoulder separation is the partial or complete separation of the clavicle (collarbone) and the acromion process (the top of the shoulder blade at the end) which meet at what is called the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint).

The most common cause of a separated shoulder is a fall or blow to the shoulder. The impact may stretch or tear the ligaments that stabilize the AC joint. This separates the bones in the shoulder, creating a bump at the top of the shoulder.


  • Intense shoulder pain
  • Tenderness of the shoulder and collarbone
  • Shoulder or arm weakness
  • Shoulder bruising or swelling
  • Limited shoulder movement
  • A bump at the top of the shoulder

Rotator Cuff Tears

The Rotator Cuff consists of the muscles and tendons of your shoulder – four major muscles and their tendons connect your humerus (upper arm bone) to your shoulder blade and hold your arm in place. Injuries to this region are fairly common. Frequent use or aging cause the tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear.

This injury can be caused by falling, lifting, and repetitive arm activities – especially those done overhead. Something as simple as throwing a baseball having poor posture can lead to injury here.


  • Pain in the shoulder or arm
  • Weakness and tenderness in the shoulder
  • Limited motion, especially when trying to lift arm over your head
  • Popping noises when trying to move shoulder