Read below about shoulder pain from overuse, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your shoulder pain from overuse from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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8 Potential Shoulder Pain From Overuse Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation

    Recurrent subluxation of the shoulder is a condition that results in a persistent partial dislocation of the shoulder joint.

    Chronic, but is treatable

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shoulder pain from overuse, pain in the front of the shoulder, shoulder dislocation
    Symptoms that always occur with recurrent shoulder dislocation:
    shoulder pain from overuse, shoulder dislocation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Rotator Cuff Tear

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of the upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury (tear) can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when sleeping on the involved side.

    Outlook varies depending on the severity of the tear, but condition may likely last for months to years.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, difficulty moving the shoulder, pain in the outside of the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tear:
    shoulder pain from an injury, pain in one shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Impingement syndrome is a common shoulder condition seen in aging adults. The tendons of rotator cuff muscles, whose action is to rotate the arm such such as during a tennis swing, pass in a narrow space between two bones in the shoulder. When the space becomes too narrow, which can happen as a result of an overuse injury, pain may develop as the tendons rub against the bones.

    Impingement may take weeks to months to settle.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night, difficulty moving the shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tendonitis:
    pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Repetitive Strain Injury of the Shoulder ("Swimmer's Shoulder")

    Repetitive strain injury of the shoulder is caused by consistent repetitive use.

    Resolves with rest

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shoulder pain from overuse, shoulder weakness, shoulder numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder ("swimmer's shoulder"):
    shoulder pain from overuse
    Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the shoulder ("swimmer's shoulder"):
    severe shoulder pain, shoulder injury
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Shoulder Pain From Overuse Checker

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  5. 5.Biceps Tendon Rupture

    The biceps is the muscle in the front of the upper arm. Its main action is to flex the arm. The biceps muscle collects in a tendon that inserts into the radius (one of the bones of the forearm). Sometimes, if lifting something heavy or rapidly putting weight on the arm, the biceps tendon may pull away from the bone. Biceps tendon ruptures are classified as either partial or complete ruptures, depending on if the tendon pulled away only somewhat, or completely.

    Full recovery within weeks to months after surgery, with no lasting deficits.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, pain in the front of the shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night
    Symptoms that always occur with biceps tendon rupture:
    pain in the front of the shoulder, pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.A Shoulder Strain

    Shoulder strain, also known as a muscle pull, is a common occurrence attributed to a damaged muscle and often is the result of heavy lifting or sports.

    With proper medical attention, this condition should fully resolve.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, pain in the front of the shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse, shoulder pain from an injury, sports injury
    Symptoms that always occur with a shoulder strain:
    pain in one shoulder
    Symptoms that never occur with a shoulder strain:
    arm weakness, arm numbness
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Biceps Tendonitis

    The biceps is the muscle in the front of the upper arm. Its main action is to flex the arm. The beginning of the muscle is a tendon that passes in front of the shoulder. Problems with the tendon can arise due to impingement (where the tendon gets compressed by surrounding structures) or inflammation due to overuse of the shoulder. People with this condition experience a deep, throbbing ache in the front of the shoulder.

    Recover on its own within weeks to months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, pain in the front of the shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night
    Symptoms that always occur with biceps tendonitis:
    pain in the front of the shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Overuse Elbow Injury Related to Throwing Motion

    Overhand throwing places extremely high stresses on the elbow. In baseball pitchers and other throwing athletes, these high stresses are repeated many times and can lead to serious overuse injury.

    6-9 weeks with rest

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse, pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse, pain in the pinky side of the elbow
    Symptoms that always occur with overuse elbow injury related to throwing motion:
    pain in one elbow, elbow pain from overuse
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Shoulder Pain From Overuse

  • Q.Which of the following describes your physical fitness:
  • Q.About your [shoulder], do you notice any of the following?
  • Q.Is the shoulder pain affecting:
  • Q.About your [upper arm], do you notice:

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our shoulder pain from overuse symptom checker to find out more.

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Shoulder Pain From Overuse Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced shoulder pain from overuse have also experienced:

    • 12% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 12% Joint Pain
    • 12% Shoulder Injury
  • People who have experienced shoulder pain from overuse had symptoms persist for:

    • 36% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Week
    • 19% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced shoulder pain from overuse were most often matched with:

    • 50% Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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