ABSTRACT
Nerve injuries about the shoulder in athletes are uncommon causes of pain and dysfunction. Athletes involved in overhead sports such as baseball, tennis, and volleyball appear to be at increased risk or have an increased incidence of atraumatic nerve injuries about the shoulder, such as suprascapular nerve dysfunction and quadrilateral space syndrome. With the increase in the number of reports and articles published on peripheral nerve injuries about the shoulder, there appears to be an increasing incidence of nerve injuries about the shoulder; however, it is unclear if the incidence itself is rising or if there just may be an increased awareness of these problems. This article focuses on the following nerve injuries about the shoulder in athletes: suprascapular nerve injury and axillary nerve injury; part 2 will focus on long thoracic nerve palsy, spinal accessory nerve injury, burners/stingers, and thoracic outlet syndrome. Recognition of these frequently missed uncommon injuries is important in directing the appropriate treatment and in guiding the athlete’s expectations. Thus, the goal of these articles is to review, in comprehensive form, what we know about the anatomy and pathophysiology of the nerve problem, presenting clinical history and examination, differential diagnosis, use and findings of ancillary tests, and nonoperative and operative management. This is to help reacquaint and update clinicians of these uncommon injuries and to help guide them in the evaluation and management of these problems. The importance of such an update cannot be understated because the literature is replete with delays in diagnosis and multiple failed surgeries before the correct diagnosis of a neurologic cause was made and appropriate management provided.



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