Premier/Crozer-Keystone Physician Spotlight: James
James T. McGlynn, M.D., is a member of Premier Orthopedic & Sports
Medicine Associates. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a
subspecialty certificate in orthopedic sports medicine. He is on the medical
staff of Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.
Dr. McGlynn earned his medical degree and completed his residency at
Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American
Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Medical Association, Arthroscopy
Association of North America, Delaware County Medical Society, Pennsylvania
Medical Society, Pennsylvania Orthopedic Society, and the Society for Military
Dr. McGlynn routinely gives community-based presentations and enjoys
being able to educate and provide this service to the public. The following
information is based on a recent presentation, “Shoulder Pain and Injuries,”
that he gave at a local library.
“The shoulder joint is made up of many different structures—including
muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and cartilage,” Dr. McGlynn says. “So there
are several problems that can develop.”
Shoulder pain can arise as a result of numerous ailments, including
conditions of the anatomic locations, such as the neck. Many times the problems
that occur with shoulders occur because we don’t know how to take care of our
shoulders. The most common type of problem is Impingement Syndrome, which includes
bursitis, tendonitis and tears of the rotator cuff.
“Impingement Syndrome is classified in three stages,” Dr. McGlynn adds.
“One is seen in young people who are overhead athletes, such as pitchers and
swimmers. The second stage develops as we age and begins in the 35-40 age
group, and is associated with normal wear and tear. This can then progress to
stage three, which is a tear of the rotator cuff.”
The rotator cuff is comprised of the four muscles of the shoulder. One
of the functions of the rotator cuff is to help stabilize the ball and socket
of the shoulder. Imbalance of the muscle leads to instability, which can cause
pinching and tears in the rotator cuff.
“It is estimated that 80 percent or so of people over the age of 40 will
suffer from this ailment,” Dr. McGlynn says. “It may be nothing more than a
pain that comes and goes, but when it sticks around, it becomes more of a
Diagnosis starts with a physical examination performed by a physician.
Dr. McGlynn adds that, “we evaluate the range-of-motion and strength, and
compare these findings to the healthy shoulder. Different locations of pain
indicate different problems, so it is important to isolate the location of
After a physical examination, an X-ray is recommended to rule out
fractures, bone tumors or arthritis. On occasion, an MRI may also be
recommended, but in many cases, the need for it should be delayed.
“Most shoulder problems will respond to non-operative care,” Dr. McGlynn
adds. “This may include cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory medications,
in conjunction with physical therapy. Non-operative care can be expected to be
successful 75 percent of the time.”
Physical therapy will concentrate on a couple of things. Physical
therapists will stretch the shoulders. They will also educate the patient on a
series at exercises that will strengthen and balance the rotator cuff.
If physical therapy doesn’t eliminate symptoms within several months,
surgical options are available. “This occurs infrequently and in many cases is
necessary to treat rotator cuff tears,” Dr. McGlynn says.
In most cases, if surgery is necessary, it can be done arthroscopically
with small incisions. With this type of surgery, patients leave the hospital on
the same day and begin an exercise program on the following day. Advanced pain
management techniques minimize the patient’s post-operative pain.
Minimizing falls in the older age group will protect their shoulders
from injury. Lower extremity exercises and keeping the home safe are both important
factors in doing so. “Make sure that throw rugs in the house are slip-resistant
and that they don’t slide around the floor, and wear shoes that have rubber
soles that grip on the ground when you walk,” Dr. McGlynn says. “It’s important
to reduce clutter, improve lighting, and install hand rails and grab bars where
McGlynn is on the medical staff of Crozer-Chester Medical Center. He has office
locations at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, and Crozer Medical Plaza
at Brinton Lake in Glen Mills. For appointments or referrals, please call (610)
876-0347 or visit www.premierortho.com.