Reducing pain, restoring movement

If you’re struggling to manage shoulder pain or an injury, the experts at UW Health can help.

Our orthopedic surgeons have special training in both sports medicine and treating the shoulder. They work with sports physical therapists and other rehabilitation therapists. We work with people of all ages to reduce shoulder pain, treat shoulder injuries and improve shoulder movement.

We find the cause of your pain and provide advanced, innovative treatments. We want you to get back to comfortably using your shoulder for the activities and sports you enjoy.

Improving shoulder care through research

The shoulder doctors and scientists at UW Health work to improve care for you.

Our teams study advancements and new ways to treat and manage trauma and sports-related injuries to the shoulder. Learn more about our research

Conditions and treatments

How we diagnose and treat your shoulder pain

The shoulder care team at UW Health evaluates and treats a wide range of shoulder conditions.

These include:

  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

  • Impingement syndrome, such as bursitis, painful arc syndrome and rotator cuff tendinitis

  • Labral tear

  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rotator cuff tear

  • Shoulder fracture

  • Shoulder instability (dislocation)

  • Shoulder pain

  • Tendinosis

Finding the source of your shoulder pain

When you meet with our shoulder care experts, we discuss your health history. We ask about your injury and your symptoms. We want to know how your shoulder pain impacts your life and your treatment goals.

We complete a physical exam and imaging tests to make a diagnosis. Imaging tests we use may include MRI arthrogram, MRI, ultrasound and X-rays.

Your doctor will talk to you about your diagnosis and treatment options. Your shoulder care team helps you create a personalized care plan that fits your lifestyle.

Advanced, innovative treatments

Our shoulder care team starts with nonsurgical treatment options to improve your pain and reduce your symptoms. Your specific treatment depends on your diagnosis. Options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines

  • Cortisone injections

  • Platelet-rich plasma injections

  • Physical therapy

You may need surgery if your condition is severe or other treatments don’t bring relief. Your doctor may recommend surgery if you work a job or play a sport that requires use of your shoulder. Surgical procedures we provide include:

  • Adhesive capsulitis repair

  • Anterior shoulder reconstruction with arthroscopic or open bankart repair

  • Arthroscopic capsular shift

  • Biceps tenodesis with soft tissue or hardware fixation

  • Biceps tenotomy

  • Isolated subscapularis repair

  • Posterior shoulder reconstruction with or without labral repair

  • Labral tear repair 

  • Open latarjet anterior shoulder stabilization

  • Rotator cuff repair

  • Shoulder arthroscopy

  • Shoulder debridement/decompression/distal clavicle excision

  • Shoulder impingement repair

  • Shoulder instability repair (arthroscopy, open surgery or radiofrequency capsular tightening)

  • Shoulder joint replacement

  • Shoulder resurfacing

  • Subacromial decompression (providing more room for the rotator cuff)

  • Superior labral anterior to posterior tear (SLAP) lesion repair

Physical therapy and rehabilitation for a full recovery 

Our rehabilitation therapists can diagnose and treat a number of shoulder issues. You can also expect extensive rehabilitation after your surgery. Your shoulder care team works with you to restore motion and get you back to your regular activities. You work with physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists regularly to ensure a pain-free recovery.

Our team creates a rehab program just for you, tailored to your specific needs. Depending on your condition, you might work with our therapists for several weeks, a few months or longer.

Patient stories

Getting back in action

Learn firsthand what treatment is like.

John DeSimone walking on a golf course
John is much happier shouldering far less pain

John DeSimone felt immediate pain relief and improvement after a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty at UW Health.

Meet our team

A team of shoulder care experts returning you to activity

At UW Health, the shoulder care team includes orthopedic surgeons specially trained in shoulder surgery and sports medicine, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical and occupational therapists and athletic trainers.

Getting you back to the activities you enjoy

Joint pain, a broken bone or other conditions that affect how your body moves can sideline you from the activities you enjoy. Our orthopedic specialists can treat your orthopedic needs.

Learn more


Shoulder care locations

We offer specialized shoulder care in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Patient resources

Helpful resources and rehabilitation guidelines

At UW Health, we believe in patient education. We want you to understand your treatment and recovery process.

Surgical options

Learn about the types of shoulder surgery:

Rehabilitation is important

Your recovery after shoulder surgery takes time. Learn what to expect during your rehabilitation: