Shoulder Care in Idaho

Dr. Carl Scott Humphrey, an expert in shoulder care, leads Humphrey Shoulder Clinic in Boise, Idaho. Our team has a proven track record of successful non-surgical treatments and surgical procedures, with glowing reviews from our patients about their results.

With helpful tips and informative guidance, you can make the best decision for your situation and take action for your health. So read on to learn how to take charge of your shoulder health today!

What Are the Most Common Shoulder Injuries and Disorders?

Sprains and Strains: These are injuries to the ligaments that connect bones in your shoulder joint caused by sudden or extreme movement or force.

Dislocations: A dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) is pulled out of its normal position within the glenoid fossa (glenoid cavity or socket).

Separations: An injury of the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint), which is located at the top of your shoulder where the clavicle (collarbone) meets your shoulder blade (scapula).

Tendinitis: Swelling of one or more tendons around your shoulder joint due to repetitive motion or overuse.

Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa sac surrounding your shoulder joint due to either trauma or repetitive motions over time.

Torn Rotator Cuff: A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround and stabilize your shoulder joint. If a tear occurs, it can cause weakness in lifting movements as well as persistent pain while at rest.

Biceps Tendon Tear: A bicep tendon tear may occur suddenly due to a fall onto an outstretched arm or gradually over time due to repeated stress on these tendons from overhead activities (such as throwing or lifting weights overhead).

Unstable Biceps Tendon: A bicep becomes unstable when one end does not stay securely attached to its position along the bone for long enough periods, leading to instability which causes difficulty using arms for activities requiring strength or stability, such as pushing or pulling objects.

Frozen Shoulder: Prolonged stiffness and restricted range of motion are caused by thickening, shrinking, and scarring around the inside lining of the capsule surrounding the shoulder.

Fracture: A fracture is a break in the bone due to an injury like falling or colliding with a hard surface. Depending upon the severity, a fracture could cause severe excruciating pain with visible deformity, limiting the range of motion.

Arthritis: Shoulder osteoarthritis is the gradual wearing down of the cartilage between the ball-shaped end humerus (humeral head) and socket-shaped part scapula (glenoid), leading to immense discomfort and painful movements across the shoulders.

Impingement Syndrome: Progressive narrowing of the top and lower half of the humerus will lead to impingement syndrome and limit the mobility and flexibility of the shoulder.

Instability: Sometimes healthy ligaments fail to perform their duties, resulting in a loose connection between different joints leading to instability and further risk of dislocation.

How Can I Prevent Shoulder Injury?

Shoulder injuries are a common and painful issue faced by people of all ages, but there are several steps you can take to protect your shoulders and reduce the chance of injury.

  • Strengthen your shoulder muscles.
  • Increase the flexibility of the joints, ligaments, and muscles.
  • Warm up with gentle movements before any physical activities.
  • Take frequent breaks during activities involving repetitive heavy lifting.
  • Try to use more ergonomic body movements to reduce unnecessary strain.

Who Is Most Likely to Get a Shoulder Injury?

Humphrey's Shoulder Clinic Answers: Who is most likely to get a shoulder injury

People over age 40 are especially prone to shoulder injuries. It is not well understood why normal aging leads to a higher incidence of shoulder-related conditions. It may be due to a combination of wear and tear on the joints, a decrease in flexibility, and the body’s progressive loss of ability to quickly repair itself that occurs with age. This is true for those with physically laborious jobs, such as carpenters, mechanics, or painters, though often patients do not recall any specific injury. People with sedentary jobs are just as likely to experience shoulder conditions as people who maintain active lifestyles.

Professional and lifelong athletes may be at a heightened risk of shoulder injuries due to the rigors of their sports, such as tennis, swimming, football, volleyball, baseball and softball, and weightlifting. Weekend warriors who are not physically conditioned may be at even higher risk.

The bottom line is that shoulder conditions such as rotator cuff tears and osteoarthritis occur for many reasons, but normal aging seems to be one factor to which these conditions clearly correlate. Family genetics are also likely involved. While we can’t prevent aging (it beats the alternative), there fortunately are both non-operative and surgical treatments that can improve people's lives as they age and encounter these shoulder conditions.

What Are the Red Flags For Shoulder Pain?

  • Recent trauma to the shoulder
  • Pain at night that interferes with sleep
  • Pain that occurs with simple activities of daily living, such as reaching the arm away from the body
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • New respiratory symptoms
  • Abnormal joint shape
  • Swelling in shoulder
  • Feeling hot or tender in the shoulder joint
  • Restriction of normal shoulder movement

When Should You Get Shoulder Pain Checked?

It is important to seek medical attention if your shoulder pain is intense and persists for more than 2-4 weeks.

If your shoulder pain is accompanied by chest pain, tightness, or difficulty breathing this could indicate a more serious health condition, such as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. You should seek immediate medical attention if you are having any of these symptoms.

How Do I Know What Type of Shoulder Injury I Have?

When attempting to identify what type of shoulder injury a person may have, Dr. Humphrey will take into account the patient's history and perform a physical exam. He may then order further tests such as an X-Ray, MRI, CT scan, EMG, or arthroscopy.

How Do I Tell If My Shoulder is Strained or Torn?

When a person has a partially torn shoulder, they often experience pain at the shoulder. This will sometimes radiate down the arm. Shoulder injuries are often difficult to diagnose without proper medical attention. If the pain lasts more than days or weeks or interferes with basic daily activities such as reaching, it is advised to seek immediate medical evaluation.

Symptoms of a Shoulder Strain:

  • Pain in the front of the shoulder joint
  • Tenderness when pressing on the area of the injury
  • Rapid swelling
  • Inability to move the shoulder
  • Instability of shoulder joint

Symptoms of a Shoulder Tear:

  • Pain while trying to raise the arm
  • Popping or clicking sound
  • Pain that worsens while sleeping or resting
  • Weakness when trying to lift

How Is Shoulder Pain Treated?

Shoulder pain is a common problem that can be treated with various non-surgical and surgical options. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often the first line of treatment for shoulder pain. Physical therapy is another alternative, involving exercises to strengthen muscles around the shoulder joint. For more severe cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and help ease the pain.

Finally, surgery might be necessary if non-operative treatments fail or lead to a worse result later in life. Dr. Humphrey will explore all possible options with you before making any choice.

What Are The Most Common Types of Shoulder Surgeries?

Rotator Cuff Repair: During a rotator cuff repair surgery, a surgeon reattaches the torn tendon to the bone using sutures or anchors.

Shoulder Replacement: Total or partial surgery replaces either part or all of a person's shoulder joint with an artificial one. In this procedure, the damaged parts of the joint are removed and replaced with metal and plastic components that function like a natural shoulder joint.

Arthroscopy for Frozen Shoulder: An arthroscopic procedure can break up adhesions to restore range of motion and reduce pain. It involves making several small incisions into the shoulder so that a camera-equipped instrument can be inserted into it to identify any areas of thickening.

SLAP Repair: Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior (SLAP) repair is used to treat tears in a ring-shaped piece at the top of your shoulder socket called the labrum. An orthopedic surgeon uses sutures to reattach any torn portions of your labrum back together again so that it can provide stability for your arm again.

AC Joint Repair for Arthritis: To correct this damage, surgeons may remove damaged cartilage from the AC joint and recreate normal anatomy by repairing ligaments around it with sutures or anchors placed on each side of the scapula or collar bone articulation point.

Arthroscopic Shoulder Instability Repair: An arthroscopic repair involves reshaping shoulder bones within their capsule or tightening existing tissues around them to create more support and stability within their arm joints.

Arthroscopic Labral Repair:Arthroscopic labral repairs use specialized instruments inserted through tiny incisions near their affected area to stitch these fibers back together again. The damaged labrum is reattached to the arm bone, and scar tissue is removed.

Biceps Tenodesis: A doctor will make small incisions near affected areas to get access needed to remove old damaged connective tissues before replacing them with newer ones that provide better support and stability.

Arthroscopy for Impingement Syndrome: A surgeon makes tiny incisions to insert special cameras for direct visualization into affected regions. This enables them to identify adhesions requiring attention before releasing and restoring normal movement.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts After Shoulder Surgery?


  • You can remove the arm from the sling a few times daily to stretch, but wear it as long as Dr. Humphrey recommends.
  • You should stay home from work or other obligations for about 2-3 weeks.
  • Keep up with your physical therapy for as long as instructed.
  • Showers are allowed after surgery with careful attention.
  • You can go for walks, but watch for potential tripping or slipping hazards.

Do Not:

  • No reaching, lifting, pushing, or pulling with an operated shoulder for six weeks.
  • Do not reach your arm behind your back until healed.
  • Do not sleep on the operated arm.
  • Avoid driving for 6-12 weeks or until instructed by Dr. Humphrey.

What Are the Signs of Needing Shoulder Surgery?

  • Chronic pain that progressively worsens, even after conservative treatments
  • Advanced joint disease
  • Loss of motion
  • Unable to raise the arm
  • Increased weakness of the shoulder
  • Unable to carry things with an injured arm

What is the Normal Range of Motion After Shoulder Surgery?

There is high variability from patient to patient regarding how quickly the range of motion returns after surgery. Generally speaking, it takes roughly 6 months to achieve a full range of motion after most surgeries. However, more complex and advanced procedures could take up to a year.

To ensure that recovery remains on track, following a rigorous physical therapy regime and not over-exerting the shoulder in any activity too soon is important. Stretching and strengthening exercises should be done gradually until a full range of movement has been regained.

Personalized Shoulder Care at Humphrey Shoulder Clinic

Are you looking for relief from shoulder pain? Humphrey Shoulder Clinic offers comprehensive treatment options to help you achieve pain relief and get back to normal activity. Whether it’s a shoulder injury in need of non-surgical care or it's time to schedule surgery for more effective relief, we have the experience and expertise to assess your condition, develop a personalized treatment plan, and give you the support you need. Schedule an appointment online or call us at 208-639-4800 to start your journey to a healthier and more comfortable lifestyle.