Expert Shoulder Orthopedic Surgeon in the Blue Ridge Region
Dr. Andrew Kersten is a double board-certified orthopedic shoulder surgeon and sports medicine specialist. At EmergeOrtho, he joins our Shoulder and Sports Medicine teams contributing his in-depth knowledge and experience in the causes of shoulder pain and both non-surgical and surgical methods for treating all shoulder conditions and injuries.
Anatomy of the Shoulder
As a shoulder surgeon, Dr. Kersten has a comprehensive understanding of the shoulder’s complex anatomy. The three main bones that make up the shoulder joint are the humerus (upper arm bone), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the clavicle (collarbone). The rotator cuff is a group of four distinct muscles and tendons that provide shoulder strength and stability when we move. The humerus fits loosely in a socket in the shoulder joint. This ball-and-socket function makes the shoulder susceptible to a number of conditions and injuries that Dr. Kersten treats and heals.
Common Shoulder Conditions and Injuries
The majority of shoulder issues fall into four categories:
1. Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
An inflammation of bursae—the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints, often caused by repetitive motion.
An inflammation or irritation of the rotator cuff or biceps tendon, such as swimmer’s shoulder or pitcher’s shoulder.
A partial or complete tear of a bicep tendon or ligament, often caused by overuse.
Shoulder impingement occurs when the top outer edge of your shoulder blade rubs against or pinches your rotator cuff beneath it, causing pain and irritation.
2. Instability or Dislocation
Shoulder instability usually occurs when the lining of the shoulder joint or ligaments becomes stretched, torn, or detached, forcing the upper arm bone out of the socket—often caused by a sudden injury or overuse.
The most common types of shoulder arthritis are osteoarthritis—also known as “wear and tear” arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Fractures are broken bones, most commonly of the collarbone, upper arm bone, and shoulder blade.
Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeons Use Advanced Methods to Develop Accurate Diagnoses
Having an accurate, timely diagnosis is essential to getting proper treatment for shoulder conditions and injuries. Shoulder specialists begin their diagnostics with a thorough general medical history and pain-specific history. They also utilize advanced technologies including MRI scanners, electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS), computed tomography scans (CT), X-rays, and DEXA (bone density) scans to reach accurate, timely diagnoses.
Shoulder Doctors Treat a Wide Range of Orthopedic Conditions
Orthopedic specialists diagnose and provide care for these specific shoulder-related conditions, injuries, and symptoms:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Impingement/bursitis
- Shoulder Instability
- Biceps Tendon Problems
- Shoulder Fracture
- Shoulder Pain
- Shoulder Arthritis
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Chronic Shoulder Instability
- Dislocated Shoulder
- Shoulder Injuries in Throwing Athlete
- Glenoid-Labrum Tear
- Shoulder separation
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
Nonsurgical Treatment Methods
Many shoulder conditions can be successfully treated with conservative, nonsurgical methods. These methods include:
- Heat and Ice
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Cortisone injections
- Physical therapy
Surgical Treatment Methods
When conservative treatments fail to reduce or eliminate pain, your shoulder specialists may recommend surgery as a viable option. Some of the most common minimally invasive and advanced shoulder surgical procedures we utilize include:
- Arthroscopic shoulder surgery
- Rotator cuff surgery
- Superior capsule reconstruction
- Shoulder replacement
- Reverse shoulder replacement
- SLAP repair
- Biceps tenodesis
- Arthroscopic acromioplasty
- Resection of distal clavicle for arthritis
- Arthroscopic stabilization for dislocations
- Open stabilization for dislocations
- Operative fixation of clavicle fractures
- Operative fixation of proximal humeral fractures
- Manipulation and arthroscopic release for frozen shoulder
When It’s Time to See an Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon
Though there are some shoulder injuries and conditions that are receptive to home care, many shoulder injuries and pain conditions cannot be treated at home and may require professional medical help. Here are some of the symptoms that may require a visit to a shoulder specialist:
- Shoulder pain that lasts longer than a week or is not relieved by home treatments
- Interrupted sleep due to shoulder pain or discomfort
- Pain when you lift your arms over your head, across your body, or backward
- A snapping, clicking, or popping sound in the shoulder
- A previous injury in the affected shoulder area, making it susceptible to reinjury
- Visible abnormality or deformity of the shoulder
- Injury or trauma to the shoulder
Specially trained in sports medicine and innovative technologies, Dr. Kersten uses a multidisciplinary approach and the most advanced methods to help athletes and other active individuals of all ages resolve their shoulder issues. Dr. Kersten’s most common procedures include shoulder surgeries, arthroscopy, revisions, impingement repair, and rotator cuff tear surgery. If you are looking for the best orthopedic shoulder surgeon nearby, request a consultation with Dr. Kersten here.