Children's Hospital Colorado
Sports Medicine Center

Shoulder Pain

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

Best Children's Hospital by US News Orthopedics 2020-1 Badge

Next Steps

Would you like to learn more about us?
Sports Medicine Center
Ready to schedule an appointment?
Schedule online
Need an appointment or have a question?
Call

Urgent or Emergency Care?

If you believe your child needs immediate attention and you have concerns for a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Not sure what counts as urgent and what's an emergency when your child is sick or injured? When it can't wait, know where to take your kids.

Help Me Decide

What is shoulder pain?

The shoulder joint is a complex joint that combines many bones, tendons and muscles in order to allow a large range of motion of the arm. The large range of motion of the shoulder makes it more susceptible to injury, which can cause shoulder pain. Your child may feel pain only with certain movements – such as throwing a baseball – or it may be constant pain. Many shoulder conditions are aggravated by specific actions or sports. Hockey shoulder injuries as well as ski and snowboarding shoulder injuries are common.

What causes shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain usually involves the soft tissues of the shoulder, which include the muscles, ligaments and tendons, rather than bones. Another common cause of shoulder pain is traumatic injury, which can lead to shoulder instability, commonly called a dislocated shoulder when the shoulder moves out of its normal position.

Rare causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infection or nerve-related problems.

Soft tissue shoulder injuries include:

  • Tendonitis: A tendon connects muscle to bone or other tissue and has a cord or band-like quality. Tendonitis is often a result of the wearing process of the tendons that takes place over a long period of time, but it can also be caused from overuse or high-intensity sports. The rotator cuff is the unit of muscles and tendons that provides shoulder motion and stability; it is the most common area for tendonitis.
  • Bursitis: Excessive use of the shoulder can lead to inflammation and swelling of a bursa. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs located near friction areas in the joint that lessen the friction caused by movement of the shoulder. The condition known as bursitis can limit the range of motion of the shoulder because of pain.

Next steps

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Hannah Martin, PA

Hannah Martin, PA

Physician Assistant

Dennis Matthews, MD

Dennis Matthews, MD

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation - Pediatric, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Sarah Sibbel, MD

Sarah Sibbel, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery, Hand Surgery

Brian Perry, PA

Brian Perry, PA

Physician Assistant