At your initial consultation, our expert shoulder and elbow surgeon will spend time understanding the exact history of your condition. For example, if you have had a specific injury to your shoulder, your consultant will talk through how the jnjury occurred, what forces were applied to the shoulder or elbow, and how your symptoms have changed since the initial injury.
Associated symptoms, such as instability to the shoulder or significant weakness to the shoulder or elbow, can give an indication as to what structures may have been damaged during the injury.
If there has been an onset of symptoms with no identifiable injury, a detailed examination of any activities of daily living or sports that may have contributed to shoulder pain is often helpful in determining the diagnosis.
An in-depth examination will be conducted to help create a list of possible diagnoses by specifically testing each structure in the shoulder and elbow. This may entail a number of specialist techniques including:
- Range of motion tests
- Strength tests
- Palpation (feeling the tissues under the skin to assess for pain)Joint glides to assess for ligament tears
State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you
Diagnostic tests may be requested and examined by your orthopaedic specialist and, if needed, our radiology consultants. Common tests which are requested to verify shoulder and elbow diagnoses include:
- X-rays: a useful tool to exclude any fractures and to assess the degree of any degenerative arthritis to the shoulder or elbow joint. They can also be useful in planning certain types of surgical technique.
- CT scans: give a highly detailed three-dimensional view of the bones architecture which make up the joint. They can be useful in definitively excluding fractures when an X-ray may be unclear.
- MRI scans: the imaging modality of choice when inspecting soft tissue or cartilage, and can also be useful in observing inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.
- Ultrasound scans: may be requested when possible tendon tears and degenerative processes to tendons are suspected. They are particularly useful in certain cases as the joints can be imaged during movement.
The right treatment for you, always
You will always be given space and time to talk about how your symptoms have affected you. Your individual goals, whether non-sporting or sporting, will also be thoroughly discussed to determine the best possible management plan.
As well as offering the best possible surgical outcomes, our orthopaedic shoulder and elbow consultants are also able to refer for injection therapy and physiotherapist-led rehabilitation where required.