Conditions We Treat

Services That We Provide

What Patients Are Saying

“Dr. Szerlip as performed 3 shoulder surgeries for my family. He took the time to listen, to understand, and to explain the injury and treatment plan until I was comfortable. And he gave up personal time on the weekend to help when my son’s recovery wasn’t going well. His work is exceptional; each of my sons have enjoyed a full recovery. I trust him completely with my family’s shoulder needs.” — MaryAnne W.

There are several conditions that can cause shoulder pain. This page focuses on what some of those causes are and how you can get expert treatments for certain shoulder conditions.

If you’re seeking expert care for your shoulder pain, contact the medical practice of Dr. Benjamin W. Szerlip in Austin, Texas. Dr. Szerlip provides personalized treatment solutions to relieve the causes of shoulder pain. Schedule an appointment today to begin your journey towards a pain-free shoulder.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder joint has three bones. The upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). Several joints allow the movement of the shoulder. The two main shoulder joints are:

  • The acromioclavicular joint: Where your collarbone meets the shoulder blade (at the acromion).
  • The glenohumeral joint: Where your upper arm bone joins your shoulder blade (glenoid cavity of the scapula).

In the glenohumeral joint, the upper arm bone is held in place with muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff tendons.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

There could be several reasons why you are experiencing shoulder pain. Some of the common conditions that could be causing your shoulder pain include the following:

Shoulder Arthritis

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. Many different types of arthritis can affect the shoulder. The most common type of arthritis that affects the shoulder is osteoarthritis. It is a wear-and-tear arthritis that usually worsens over time.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator cuff tears can occur through acute or sudden injury or wear and tear. The tears can partially tear through the tendon or completely detach from the bone.


This condition occurs when the rotator cuff tendons get trapped in the bony area of your shoulder. This causes them to become swollen and inflamed. The condition is also called rotator cuff tendinitis.

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder occurs when the joint capsule thickens and becomes stiff and tight. Also, thick bands of tissue develop, making it difficult to move your shoulder.


SLAP is an acronym for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. The labrum is strong fibrous tissue that deepens the shoulder socket to add stability to the shoulder. The injury occurs at the top or superior part of the labrum, where the biceps tendon attaches. Sometimes the biceps tendon will tear at the same time as a SLAP tear.

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability can occur after a dislocated shoulder. A dislocation can cause the tendons, muscles, and ligaments to become loose or torn. This can make your shoulder susceptible to further instability and dislocations.

Shoulder Tendinopathy

Tendinopathy refers to tiny tears in your tendon. It is caused by repetitive overuse and wear and tear. The condition may sometimes be referred to as tendinosis. Shoulder tendinopathy usually affects your rotator cuff tendons.

Shoulder Fracture

Fractures can occur in your clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone), and scapula (shoulder blade). Shoulder fractures usually are a result of a fall or high-impact injury, such as in sports or a motor vehicle accident.

Scapular Dyskinesis

This condition refers to deviations in the scapular or shoulder blade. Your scapula may be out of its normal position and have abnormal movement.

Biceps Tendonitis

Inflammation of the long head of the biceps is called biceps tendinitis. As it develops, the tendon sheath can thicken. Occasionally, the tendon will tear as the condition progresses.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

This condition refers to degenerative joint disease caused by rotator cuff tears. It usually affects the glenohumeral joint.

Referred Pain

There are times when the cause of shoulder pain is caused by another part of the body. This is called referred pain.

When to Contact a Doctor

If you have sudden, intense shoulder pain on the left side of your body along with pain in your chest, left jaw, arm, or neck, call 911 immediately. These signs could indicate a heart attack.

If you have an injury and your shoulder pain is severe and it is accompanied by swelling, bruising, same-day appointment can be made with Dr. Benjamin Szerlip.

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain Causes

Your doctor will begin by considering how the pain started, what activities you do, and consider previous treatments and occurrences. He will also perform a physical exam to look for swelling and abnormalities and test the strength of your shoulder through its range of motion.

In some cases, certain imaging tests will be used to obtain further diagnosis. Imaging tests may include the following:

  • X-rays: Detect injuries to shoulder joint bones.
  • MRI and ultrasound: Provide detailed images of soft tissues.
  • CT scan: Produce detailed views of shoulder bones.

Treatments We Offer

Dr. Benjamin W. Szerlip, DO, is a fellowship-trained shoulder and sports medicine surgeon serving Austin, Texas, and the surrounding communities. He provides several treatments for the above shoulder conditions. The treatments he can provide are as follows:

Schedule Your Appointment Today

  • If you’re looking for an expert orthopedic surgeon to treat shoulder pain, contact Dr. Benjamin Szerlip in Austin, TX. With specialized expertise in shoulder and sports medicine, Dr. Szerlip provides personalized treatment plans tailored to your needs.

    Don’t let shoulder discomfort hold you back any longer—schedule your appointment today to begin your journey towards relief!

Medically reviewed by
Benjamin W. Szerlip DO