Shoulder

My shoulder has been hurting recently and I’m not sure why. Should I be concerned?

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Medically reviewed by Dr Ong Kee Leong, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho), Senior Consultant
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Shoulder pain that doesn’t go away with a few days’ rest or pain that requires a significant amount of painkillers to bring relief should raise alarm bells. In my clinic, patients who suffer from shoulder pain with seemingly unknown causes typically have one of three common conditions: injury to the rotator cuff (the main group of muscles that mobilise the shoulder), injury to the labrum (a rubber band-like structure that keeps the shoulder in its socket) or “frozen shoulder”.

Believe it or not, a rotator cuff injury doesn’t just happen to athletes. In fact, a large number of patients with a bothersome shoulder ache have no recollection of how it occurred. It could easily have been due to a forgettable action such as grabbing a bag from the back seat of a car while sitting in the front seat. 

Labrum injuries, too, don’t just happen to athletes, though this type of injury does commonly occur in throwing sports or activities with repetitive overhead movement – volleyball and tennis, for example. And, it happens gradually over time. So, a frustrated gym enthusiast will lament that he is no longer able to bench-press his usual loads because of a sharp pain; or a tennis player might no longer be able to serve overhead without pain; yet, both will deny any earth-shattering injury.

A frozen shoulder may be triggered by a known injury, including a labrum or rotator cuff injury. However, often the patient doesn’t recall any injury at all. Without proper counsel and care, a condition that could have resolved in two months may drag on for two years. Therefore, it’s important not to brush off that shoulder pain! Getting a diagnosis early and receiving proper treatment will stave off long-lasting disability.

"Moving your body the way nature intended is a freedom not well appreciated until it is lost. We are passionate about getting you back in the game, and staying in the game. Our team is fully committed to returning you to the life and activities you love."

Dr Ong Kee Leong

About Dr. Ong Kee Leong

Senior Consultant, MBBS (Singapore), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Ortho)

Dr. Ong Kee Leong is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon. He subspecializes in shoulder and knee, foot and ankle, hand wrist and elbow surgeries, arthroscopic sports surgery, and the management of sports-related injuries.

He has been registered with the Singapore Medical Council as a specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery since 2011.

  • MBBS, National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Medicine 2001
  • Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2007
  • Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS) 2007
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Orthopaedic Surgery 2011
  • Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) Scholarship, Ministry of Health 2012-2013:
  • Sports Surgery and Arthroscopy in Germany (Hannover)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School Of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University
  • Senior Clinical Lecturer, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Awards & Teaching
  • Dr. Ong had received numerous awards such as Best Service and Eastern Health Alliance Caring (Gold) Awards.
  • He also has an interest in clinical research and has written papers in multiple peer-review journals. As a Core Faculty of Singhealth Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, he oversees the training of junior orthopaedic surgeons.
  • Regularly invited to teach local and regional surgeons in Shoulder and Knee Surgery Courses.
  • He is a recipient of multiple teaching awards including the Singhealth Residency Outstanding Faculty Awards from 2014-2016 and Changi General Hospital Outstanding Educator Awards 2015-2016.

Why Do Patients Choose Dr Ong Kee Leong?

  • Dr. Ong Is Passionate In Sports, Giving Him A Deep Understanding Of Sports-Related Injuries And How They Can Be Treated
  • Fellowship Trained Surgeon With 15 Years Of Experience In Orthopaedic Conditions
  • Personalised And Professional Approach To Deliver High-Quality Orthopaedic Care Based On The Most Up-To-Date Literature
  • Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure Smooth, Long-Term Recovery
  • Problem-Oriented, Well-Organised and Individualized Treatment Plans Catered To Your Specific Needs
  • Specialist In The Management Of Sports Injuries And Degenerative Conditions Of The Shoulder And Knee Joints
  • Knowledgeable And Pleasant Clinical Staff To Assist You With Your Every Need Detailed Aftercare Plan To Ensure
  • Our Care Is Conveniently Accessible At Mount Elizabeth Novena and Farrer Park hospital
  • Minimal Waiting Time For Initial Consultation
  • Assistance With Medical Claims (e.g. Medisave & Integrated Shield Plans)

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