Loose bodies in the shoulder can cause significant discomfort and pain and may limit a person’s range of motion and ability to perform everyday tasks. Loose bodies, also known as joint mice, are small fragments of bone or cartilage detached from the joint surface and float inside the joint cavity.
A variety of factors can cause loose bodies in the shoulder. Trauma to the joint, such as a dislocation or fracture, can result in loose fragments of bone or cartilage. Inflammation of the joint, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, can also form loose bodies. Additionally, repetitive motion or overuse of the shoulder joint can cause the formation of loose bodies over time.
Shoulder Loose Bodies Symptoms
Symptoms of loose bodies in the shoulder can vary, depending on the size and location of the fragments and the degree of inflammation and damage to the joint. Common symptoms include:
- Shoulder pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when moving the shoulder.
In some cases, loose bodies can cause locking of the joint, making it difficult or impossible to move the shoulder.
Treatment for Loose Bodies in the Shoulder
The treatment for loose bodies in the shoulder depends on the severity of the symptoms and the size and location of the fragments. In mild cases, conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy may effectively reduce pain and improve range of motion. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain.
In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the loose bodies and repair any damage to the joint. Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, is often used to remove loose bodies from the shoulder. During arthroscopy, a small incision is made in the shoulder, and a tiny camera is inserted into the joint to visualize the fragments. The surgeon then uses specialized instruments to remove the loose bodies and damaged tissue.
Open surgery may sometimes be necessary to remove larger or more complex loose bodies. During open surgery, a larger incision is made in the shoulder, and the joint is opened to allow the surgeon to visualize and remove the fragments – if there are fractures, the shoulder bones may need to be stabilized during the surgery.
After surgery, patients will typically undergo a period of rehabilitation to restore strength and range of motion to the shoulder. Physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to help strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion.
Loose bodies or “mice” in the shoulder can cause significant pain and discomfort and may interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the size and location of the fragments but may include conservative measures such as rest and physical therapy or more invasive surgical procedures such as arthroscopy or open surgery to remove the fragments. With proper treatment and rehabilitation, most people with loose bodies in the shoulder can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and return to normal activities. If you are experiencing symptoms of loose bodies in your shoulder, contact the office of Steven Struhl MD – AC Joint Separation. Call Dr. Struhl’s office in NYC or Westchester, NY, to schedule a shoulder exam and consultation.
Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD