Shoulder infections


The bacteria cause a purulent infection of the shoulder joint or surrounding structures (soft tissue). In most cases, the shoulder is occupied, but other joints may be occupied. People experience pain in the arm, sometimes radiating to the arm. There may be local swelling, redness and warmth, as well as fever or cold, but these are rare.

Many shoulder infections will be diagnosed late due to mild clinical symptoms. Another possible symptom may be night pain.

Shoulder infections are very serious and should be treated immediately after diagnosis. The source of infection should be surgically removed. The shoulder joint can be irrigated by arthroscopic or open method. It could take several surgeries in a few days. Antibiotics and drainage are used to clean the shoulder joint.

Bacteria can get into the shoulder joint from the outside or from the inside. They enter the external shoulder joint after a shoulder injury with open wounds, after injections into the shoulder or after surgery. Bacteria can spread from the inside, while people suffer from colds, infections of the bladder or teeth, etc.

Types of shoulder infections: Depending on the time, they can be divided into chronic and acute infections of the shoulder.

Infections of the shoulder can be located in the mediastinum – in the main shoulder joint – which has a bad prognosis due to the destruction of the main joint. Or they can be located posteriorly, for example under the deltoid muscle and/or in the subbar tunnel. The prognosis is a little better.

In the case of blood-borne infections, the bacteria spread through the blood vessel system from another focus, such as a dental abscess or a bladder infection. These so-called secondary shoulder infections can also occur after surgery or shoulder infections (also called idiopathic shoulder infections).

Even in generalised diseases that are associated with immunosuppression, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis, infections of the shoulder can develop.

Tendon injuries – Injuries to the tendons and muscles of the shoulder can occur in any of the four groups of tendons of the muscles surrounding the shoulder. Two common types are rotator cuff tears and biceps tendon tears. They are usually caused by an injury, such as a fall. However, they can also develop for other reasons, such as aging, which causes the tendons to wear out. Another type is the rupture of large pectoral muscles. This happens in the tendon that connects the pectoral muscle to the humerus and is often associated with indirect injuries such as being overweight.

Primary symptoms include pain and weakness in the shoulder.


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