Causes of shoulder pain in teens and adolescent kids

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Shoulder pain in children is not uncommon but as parents it is necessary to attend to it promptly and seek suitable treatment. Dr. Ratnav Ratan is a Pediatric Orthopedic doctor in Gurgaonavailable for consultation and treatment of shoulder pain in children and adolescent kids.

Some of the most common conditions of shoulder pain are as follows –

Tendonitis or Rotator Cuff or Biceps tendon

In this condition, the biceps which are the upper part of the muscles on the front of the upper arm are affected with or after a shoulder injury or as a standalone condition. The patient complains of pain in the front area of the shoulder followed by increasing discomfort with use and at night time as well.

This injury is due to overuse or excessive repetition of overhead movements. Children and older teenagers active in playing baseball, tennis, volleyball, and swimming are likely to complain of the biceps tendon.

Little Leaguer’s Shoulder

Little League Shoulder occurs in growing children in the age group of 11 – 16 years.  It occurs mainly due to stress to the arm bone or the arm bone which is nearest to the shoulder. The growth plate located in that area widens leading to pain and swelling too. Repeated actions of overhead throwing, pitching, lack of muscle strength, insufficient rest lead cause little league shoulder condition.  Symptoms include pain when the shoulder is in action, pain in the shoulder when lifting the arm, less accurate throw at reduced speeds.

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability occurs when the upper arm bone can move a great deal in the socket due to the loose joint. Pain in the shoulder joint and feeling of a ‘loose’ shoulder or a shoulder ‘giving out’ along with repetitive shoulder dislocations relate to shoulder instability. It is advisable to seek prompt medical attention to treat shoulder instability to prevent further damage to the shoulder and early return to sports.

Scapular Dyskinesia

Scapular dyskinesis or SICK scapula syndrome refers to a deviation in the normal position of the shoulder blade i.e. the scapula when the shoulder is moved. It occurs due to a soft tissue or a bony injury around the shoulder leading to a shift in the normal resting or active position of the shoulder blade.

Symptoms of Scapular Dyskinesia include pain in the shoulder blade in the arm when lifting heavy objects or in overhead actions, shoulder instability, weakness in shoulder and arm, asymmetrical posture


A fracture in the shoulder is also known as proximal humeral fracture refers to a break in the humeral head i.e. the ball of the shoulder’s joint which is located at the top of the upper arm bone or the humerus. Symptoms of a proximal humeral fracture include swelling and the patient’s unwillingness to move the shoulder while movement is accompanied by pain.

Infection or Osteomyelitis

This medical condition refers to inflammation of the tissues within the bone which can be either acute or chronic. In growing children and adolescents, it affects the long bones in their body especially the narrow part of the bone. Symptoms include fractured wound exposed in an open wound, swelling, pain in the bone, and tenderness. The treatment can include antibiotic treatment and also surgical removal of the dead bone in case of severe bone infection.

Acromioclavicular joint injury

This joint is located at the top of the shoulder where the clavicle and the acromion process meet and it is a plane-style synovial joint. This type of injury occurs due to playing contact sports, car accidents, and bicycle wrecks along with a certain set of seasonal sports activities. The acromioclavicular joint is surrounded by many ligaments which get damaged leading to tears, sprains, and damage in one or all the surrounding ligaments.

Do set up an appointment with Dr. Ratnav Ratan, if your child is an active sportsperson and has been complaining of persistent shoulder pain for some time now.  After all, a routine medical check-up does save a great deal of trauma and anxiety while enabling the child to be as active as possible.

Dr. Ratnav Ratan
Dr. Ratnav Ratan
Pediatric Orthopedist and Sports Medicine specialist

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