Shoulder Specialist in Singapore

Dr Poh Seng Yew has over 18 years of experience specialising in complex shoulder arthroscopy, open shoulder reconstruction and shoulder arthroplasty.

Are your shoulder pain symptoms affecting your quality of life? Consult our MOH-accredited shoulder specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis of your condition & a personalised treatment plan.

doctor img
Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)



Common Shoulder Conditions

The shoulder is a complex joint susceptible to various complications and disorders, often resulting from injury, overuse, or age-related wear and tear. Here are common shoulder conditions to watch out for.

  • Rotator Cuff Injury - This encompasses a spectrum of conditions from tendinitis to tears. These injuries often result from repetitive overhead motion or acute trauma.
  • Shoulder Instability - This is a condition where the shoulder joint is prone to dislocation or subluxation. This may occur following an injury or due to congenital laxity of the shoulder ligaments.
  • Frozen Shoulder - Otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is characterised by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. This condition arises from inflammation and subsequent adhesions within the shoulder capsule, leading to reduced range of motion.
  • Shoulder Osteoarthritis - This manifests as a degeneration of the joint cartilage. Patients experience pain, reduced mobility, and sometimes a grating sensation during movement, often attributed to age or wear and tear.
  • Acromioclavicular Joint Disorders - Including sprains and arthritis, these disorders affect the joint at the top of the shoulder. Common causes include trauma from falls or degenerative changes.
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome - This arises when shoulder muscles are pinched between the bones of the shoulder, leading to pain and mobility issues, particularly when lifting the arm.
  • Bursitis - A condition where inflammation is seen in the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the shoulder joint. This results in pain and swelling.
  • Clavicle Fractures - Fractures of the clavicle or collarbone, often caused by falls, sports injuries, or direct impacts. These can lead to significant pain, swelling, and an inability to move the shoulder.
  • Shoulder Arthritis - In addition to osteoarthritis, this can include other forms like rheumatoid arthritis, causing joint inflammation, pain, and restricted movement in the shoulder.
  • SLAP Tears - Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior tears occur at the point where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum of the shoulder. These can cause pain, a feeling of locking or popping, and a decrease in shoulder strength.
  • Shoulder Dislocation - Occurs when the upper arm bone (humerus) is displaced from the shoulder socket, often due to trauma or extreme rotation. This can cause intense pain, swelling, and immobility of the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder Blade Disorders - These include issues such as scapular dyskinesis, where there is abnormal movement of the shoulder blade, and winged scapula, where the shoulder blade protrudes abnormally. These conditions can lead to pain, limited shoulder mobility, and muscular imbalances.

Common Causes Of Shoulder Conditions

  • Repetitive Strain: Prolonged repetitive movements, particularly those involving overhead activities, are a primary cause of shoulder disorders. These movements can lead to overuse injuries of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Trauma: Acute injuries such as falls or direct blows to the shoulder often result in dislocations, fractures, or soft tissue damage that can lead to chronic shoulder issues.
  • Age-Related Degeneration: Natural wear and tear over time can cause deterioration of the shoulder joint and its supportive structures, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis.
  • Sports Injuries: Athletes engaging in sports that require repetitive shoulder movements — like swimming, tennis, or cricket — are at a higher risk of shoulder injuries.
  • Occupational Hazards: Jobs that involve lifting, carrying, or overhead work can increase the risk of developing shoulder complications.
  • Poor Posture: Chronic poor posture, especially with prolonged desk work, can place undue stress on the shoulder girdle, resulting in pain and dysfunction.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic propensity towards certain conditions, such as collagen disorders that affect the ligaments and tendons around the shoulder.
  • Systemic Diseases: Conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can lead to shoulder complications due to systemic inflammation and joint damage.
  • Congenital Anomalies: Some shoulder disorders are due to congenital malformations or abnormalities in joint development.
  • Infections: Rarely, infections can invade the shoulder joint or surrounding tissues, causing pain, swelling, and dysfunction.

Symptoms and Signs

Individuals experiencing shoulder complications and disorders may present a range of symptoms that signal the need for medical evaluation.

  • Pain
    This is the most common symptom, which may be localised to the shoulder joint or radiate down the arm. The pain may be constant or only occur with certain movements.
  • Stiffness
    A reduction in the range of motion of the shoulder joint, making it difficult to perform activities like reaching overhead or behind the back.
  • Swelling and Inflammation
    Visible enlargement of the shoulder area, often accompanied by warmth and tenderness to touch.
  • Weakness
    A decrease in shoulder strength, impacting the ability to carry objects or perform routine tasks.
  • Crepitus
    A grinding, clicking, or snapping sensation within the shoulder during movement.
  • Instability
    A sensation of the shoulder feeling loose, as if it may slide out of place or dislocate.
  • Deformity
    Any noticeable change in the appearance of the shoulder, which may indicate a dislocation or other structural injury.
  • Night Pain
    Intensification of pain during the night, particularly when lying on the affected shoulder.
  • Numbness or Tingling
    These sensations may occur if there is nerve involvement or compression within the shoulder region.
  • Impaired Function
    Difficulty using the shoulder for daily activities, indicating a potential compromise in the joint’s function.


The assessment of shoulder conditions requires a structured diagnostic approach to accurately identify the underlying cause and guide appropriate treatment.

Clinical Assessment

A thorough history taking is the initial step, where patients describe their symptoms, onset, duration, and any inciting events.

Your shoulder specialist may also perform a comprehensive examination, assessing pain, range of motion, joint stability, muscle strength, and the presence of any deformity or swelling.

Imaging Studies

  • Radiography: Standard X-rays provide images of the bony structures of the shoulder, revealing fractures, dislocations, or signs of arthritis.
  • Ultrasonography: This imaging modality is utilised for visualising soft tissue structures, including muscles, tendons, and bursae, often in dynamic assessments.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI offers detailed views of both hard and soft tissues within the shoulder, aiding in the diagnosis of rotator cuff tears, labral tears, and other intra-articular pathology.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A CT scan is sometimes used to better define bone pathology and complex fractures when planning surgical interventions.


In cases where diagnostic imaging is inconclusive, arthroscopy can be a tool for direct visualisation of the interior of the shoulder joint.

Nerve Conduction Studies

These tests may be indicated to diagnose nerve involvement or compressive neuropathies related to shoulder disorders.

Laboratory Tests

Blood tests can help identify or rule out systemic conditions that might contribute to shoulder pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or infection.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Management of shoulder conditions may often begin with non-surgical treatment strategies. These options aim to alleviate symptoms, improve function, and facilitate healing.

  • Physical Therapy - Tailored exercise programmes designed to strengthen shoulder muscles, enhance flexibility, and restore range of motion.
  • Medications - Anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics to reduce pain and inflammation. In certain cases, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs may be prescribed for autoimmune conditions.
  • Corticosteroid Injections - Injections into the shoulder joint or surrounding structures to provide short-term relief of inflammation and pain.
  • Activity Modification - Guidance on altering daily activities to avoid movements that exacerbate shoulder pain.
  • Cold and Heat Applications - Use of ice packs and heat pads to manage pain and swelling.
  • Orthotic Devices - Slings or braces to immobilise or support the shoulder during the healing process.
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy - A technique that uses sound waves to promote healing in injured soft tissue.
  • Acupuncture - A complementary therapy that may provide pain relief for some patients.
  • Lifestyle Interventions - Changes to diet and exercise to support overall health and mitigate factors that may worsen shoulder conditions.

Surgical Treatment Options

When non-surgical interventions fail to provide relief or in cases of severe shoulder conditions, surgical options may be considered.


A minimally invasive procedure where small incisions are made to repair or remove damaged tissues. Commonly used for rotator cuff repairs, labral tears, and removal of bone spurs.

Rotator Cuff Repair

Surgery to repair torn tendons in the shoulder. This can be performed arthroscopically or through a traditional open procedure.

Shoulder Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty)

Replacement of the shoulder joint with artificial components. Total shoulder arthroplasty is for patients with severe arthritis or complex fractures, while hemiarthroplasty replaces just the head of the humerus.

Capsular Release

This surgery is for treating frozen shoulder, involving the release of tight portions of the joint capsule.


The removal of a small piece of the bone from the acromion to relieve impingement symptoms and allow for more space for the rotator cuff.

Ligament Repair

Reconstruction or repair of ligaments to address shoulder instability and prevent recurrent dislocations.

Labral Repair

Surgery to fix tears of the labrum, the cartilage rim around the socket of the shoulder joint.

Fracture Repair

Fixation of broken bones in the shoulder using pins, plates, or screws.

Schedule An Appointment Within 24 Hours

Are Your Symptoms Affecting Your Quality Of Life?

Consult our MOH-accredited shoulder specialist for a comprehensive diagnosis of your condition & a personalised treatment plan.

Preventing Shoulder Complications

Effective prevention of shoulder complications involves a multifaceted approach aimed at minimising risk factors and maintaining shoulder health.

  • Ensuring Correct Shoulder Form During Physical Activities
    Ensuring correct form and technique when engaging in physical activities, especially those involving overhead motions, to reduce strain on the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder Strengthening Exercises
    Engaging in a balanced exercise regimen that includes activities to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve flexibility.
  • Ergonomic Workstations
    Designing work environments that support proper posture and reduce repetitive strain on the shoulders.
  • Adequate Rest
    Allowing sufficient recovery time between activities that exert the shoulder to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Posture Awareness
    Maintaining good posture to reduce unnecessary stress on shoulder structures.
  • Warm-Up Routines
    Performing warm-up exercises before participation in sports or strenuous activities to prepare the shoulder muscles and joints.
  • Weight Management
    Maintaining a healthy body weight to decrease the burden on the shoulder during weight-bearing activities.
  • Protective Equipment For High-Impact Sports
    Using appropriate safety gear during sports and recreational activities to prevent injuries.
  • Early Intervention
    Seeking timely medical advice when experiencing shoulder pain or discomfort to address issues before they progress.

Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)


With over 18 years of experience, Dr Poh Seng Yew is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, shoulder and elbow surgery, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

  • Former Director of Sports Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital
  • Clinical Hip and Sports Medicine Fellow, Orthopädische Chirurgie München (OCM), Germany
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, FRCSEd (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), National University of Singapore
  • Member, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), National University of Singapore



Shield Plans

Corporate Partners

Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
Singapore 329563

Weekdays: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

Enquire Today & Resolve Your Shoulder Pain

Your symptoms shouldn’t affect your quality of life or disrupt daily activities. Reach out to our friendly clinic staff today & schedule a consultation.

    Full Name*

    Email Address*

    Phone Number*

    Your Message*

    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
    Singapore 329563

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can shoulder pain go away on its own?

    Acute shoulder pain can resolve by itself without medical treatment. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relief may be sufficient. Persistent or worsening pain requires medical evaluation.

    When should one consider shoulder surgery?

    Surgery may be considered if conservative treatments are ineffective, for severe injuries, or when there is significant impact on daily activities and quality of life.