Make an appointment to see how our board certified and fellowship trained Shoulder experts can help you.

Oscar Vazquez, MD
Sports Medicine

Michael L. Gross, MD
Sports Medicine

Michael T. Benke, MD
Sports Medicine

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Most shoulder injuries are both extremely painful and debilitating. So choosing the right expert is critical in your recovery. Our team of experts routinely perform cutting edge procedures such as reverse shoulder replacement surgery which can lessen pain and improve function where other surgeries cannot.

Because the shoulder muscle group is used for so many activities – from reaching into the refrigerator to paddling a surfboard –  many different types of injuries are fairly common. The shoulder specialists at Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can help, whether you’ve been experiencing occasional discomfort or constant pain.

At Active Orthopedics, our experts treat problems and always start with the most conservative approaches first. These can include activity modification, oral medications, injections, physical therapy or a combination of these. We treat all problems of the shoulder including bursitis, tendinitis, tendon and rotator cuff tears, impingement and instability, arthritis, dislocations, clavicle fractures and more. Should surgery be necessary, our extensive experience in both arthroscopic procedures and the most advanced reconstructive surgeries will help assure a more speedy recovery.

We believe that patient education is an important part of providing exceptional care. Below are some of the more common procedures we specialize in, so that our patients can learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment options for all types of shoulder injury:

Shoulder Arthoscopy
Rotator Cuff Repair
Shoulder Stabilization
Labrum Repair
Shoulder Separation
Total Shoulder Replacement


Shoulder Arthoscopy

Trauma or overuse can cause the shoulders soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage) to stretch or tear. Then they can no longer provide the necessary support. A feeling of “looseness” may develop and the shoulder may “pop out” with some activities. Pain and weakness may interfere with daily activities such as work, sports, or sleep.

Shoulder arthroscopy is performed under sterile conditions following an injection of a local anesthetic into the joint and/or general anesthesia.

A small incision is made to introduce a cannula with tubing attached. This tubing is connected to bags of saline used to irrigate and fill the joint space for better viewing. It also distends the joint space allowing for easier passage of instruments. A second small incision is made to insert the arthroscope, which is attached to a camera and light source. These, in turn are attached to a T. V. monitor to view and record the findings. Pictures may be taken and saved for later reference. A third incision may be made to introduce instruments for repair and to correct injuries. They may also correct tears and remove loose bodies.

For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Shoulder Surgery


Rotator Cuff Repair

A rotator cuff injury is a strain or tear in the group of tendons and muscles that hold your shoulder joint together and help move your shoulder.

How does rotator cuff injury occur?

A rotator cuff injury may result from:

– Impingement from bone spurs

– using your arm to break a fall

– falling onto your arm

– lifting a heavy object

– normal wear and tear in an older person

– use of your shoulder in sports with a repetitive overhead movement, such as swimming, baseball (mainly pitchers), football, and tennis, which gradually strains the tendon

– manual labor such as painting, plastering, raking leaves, or housework.

For additional information visit:

AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Rotator Cuff Tears
AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Rotator Cuff Tears: Frequently Asked Questions


Shoulder Stabilization

What is shoulder instability?

A shoulder is considered “unstable” when it frequently dislocates or slips partially out of the joint, a condition known as subluxation. This often develops as a result of a traumatic injury that may stretch or tear ligaments in the shoulder. Shoulder instability can cause pain and limited motion, as well as the fear that moving in the wrong way will cause the shoulder to dislocate. This injury often prevents patients from participating in sports and other activities that they would otherwise enjoy.

How is shoulder instability treated?

Surgical shoulder stabilization can be performed through an arthroscopic procedure that may involve reattaching loose or torn ligaments to the joint with the use of special implants called suture anchors. These anchors are used to relocate and tighten injured structures, and then disintegrate over time. Depending on the individual patient’s joint instability, shoulder stabilization surgery can also repair tears of the biceps muscle tendon, a damaged rotator cuff, or tighten the shoulder capsule.

For additional information visit:


Labrum Repair

What is a labrum tear?

The labrum is the cuff of cartilage that forms a cup around the end of the humerus for extra support in this ball and socket joint. As a shallow joint that often becomes unstable, the labrum increases stability and allows for a wide range of motion. Unfortunately, this thick tissue is susceptible to damage and can be torn at multiple locations.

How does labrum injury happen?

A labrum tear most commonly occurs as a result of trauma to the shoulder, and is most often seen in athletes. There are several different types of labral tears, including:

  • SLAP Tear – a tear at the top of the shoulder socket most commonly seen in baseball and tennis players who use overhead throwing
  • Bankart Lesions – tear that occurs when the shoulder dislocates and increases a patient’s risk for future dislocations
  • Posterior Labral Tears – can occur with a condition called internal impingement, in which the rotator cuff and labrum are pinched together at the back of the shoulder

Labral tears can also develop with age, as the cartilage becomes more brittle and may begin to fray and tear.

What are some symptoms of labrum tearing?

Symptoms vary depending on where the tear is located, but may include:

  • Aching
  • Pain with movement
  • Catching or popping of the shoulder
  • Clicking
  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Feeling that the shoulder is very loose

How is a labral tear treated?

Treatment for a labral tear depends on the type of tear that has occurred. Anti-inflammatory medication, immobilization and rest can often help alleviate symptoms temporarily. However, most tears will eventually require surgical treatment to restore the shoulder back to repair the shoulder.

Labrum repair surgery can often be performed arthroscopically to insert small, permanent metal screws to suture the torn labrum back together and relieve the painful symptoms of this condition. Most patients experience significant relief from their symptoms after this procedure.

For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear)


Shoulder Separation

What is a shoulder separation?

A shoulder separation occurs when you tear the ligaments that hold your collarbone (clavicle) to the joint where it meets the shoulder blade. Your collarbone may move out of its normal place and push up the skin on the top of your shoulder. Another term for shoulder separation is acromioclavicular (AC) separation or sprain.

Shoulder separations, or sprains, are graded I, II, or III, depending on how far the collarbone is separated from the shoulder. A grade I sprain has tenderness but no actual separation. A grade II sprain has slight separation of the clavicle from the shoulder, and grade III has a greater separation.

How does shoulder separation occur?

A shoulder separation can result from a blow to your shoulder or a fall on your shoulder. It also can result from a fall on your outstretched hand or arm. It is a common injury in contact sports such as football, rugby, hockey, or lacrosse. It may occur from falling onto a hard surface, such as might happen during downhill skiing, volleyball, rock climbing, and soccer.

What are the symptoms of shoulder separation?

  • Symptoms include the following
  • severe pain at the moment the injury occurs
  • limited shoulder movement and tenderness on top of your shoulder at the end of your collarbone
  • swelling and bruising of your shoulder area
  • a misshapen shoulder.

For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Dislocated Shoulder


Total Shoulder Replacement

What is a total shoulder replacement?

A total shoulder replacement is a procedure in which the doctor removes your shoulder joint and replaces it with an artificial one.

When is it used?

This procedure is done when the joint is painful and not working properly, such as with arthritis, in which the range of motion is restricted and use of the arm is limited. It is done when other treatments have not worked.

Alternatives to this procedure include use of acetaminophen, aspirin, or other drugs for pain and inflammation. Also, you may choose not to have treatment, recognizing the risks of your condition. You should ask your doctor about these choices.

For additional information visit: AAOS Online Service Fact Sheet – Shoulder Joint Replacement