Shoulder Care

A path to enhanced movement

Every patient’s treatment journey is unique. The diagram to the right provides a brief overview of what you can expect your path to look like at the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre. Press one of the titles below to get more information on the different stages of your journey.

Additional Information

What to Expect from Your Appointment

Your physician has sent a referral, via FAST, to the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre to have your shoulder assessed. The purpose of this assessment appointment is for the assessment team (physical therapist and assessment physician) to determine the nature of your shoulder problem and the best plan for management. Topics they will discuss with you will include:

  • Your medical history (medical conditions/surgeries you may have had)
  • The history of your shoulder problem, including treatments you have had for this problem (injections, physical therapy, procedures)
  • Any physical therapy treatments you have undergone/are undergoing (where you went for your treatment, for how long, what exercises you were given)

This information, as well as any imaging you may have had done, will be used by the assessment physician to decide on a management plan and will discuss this with you. A letter explaining this management plan will be sent to your referring doctor or physical therapist.

If conservative management has failed or you have sustained an injury that requires surgical intervention, the assessment physician will refer you for a surgical consult. There is a waitlist to see a surgeon and wait times can vary from a few months up to a year. For most patients, surgery is not necessary. Most patients get better with conservative treatment such as physical therapy, injections, or condition-specific procedures.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Have all the information you need ready and available, including:

  • A list of the medications you are currently taking (their names and doses)
  • A list of the treatments you have had for your hip/knee problem (injections, procedures, physical therapy)
  • The name of your physical therapy clinic, how long you went for and what exercises you were given as part of your treatment (if applicable)

Some assessment physicians conduct their appointments over the phone. For more information on how to prepare for your virtual appointment, please see our Guide to Virtual Appointments

Your next step is to see a surgeon – what does this really mean?

You have completed your visit with the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre and have been told that your next step is to see a surgeon. This indicates that our assessor thinks you have enough damage to your shoulder that you need to see a surgeon. However, this does NOT mean that you will be having surgery – it will be the surgeon who will decide if you are truly a surgical candidate. Then it is up to YOU to decide if you want to have surgery done.

How Long Will I Wait to See a Surgeon?

Wait times vary among the surgeons. A letter recommending that you be seen by a shoulder surgeon has been sent to the Edmonton Zone Central Referral Program (Ortho). This program refers our patients on to the appropriate surgeon (based on surgeon availability/practice).

A letter will be sent to your family physician by the Referral Program, indicating which surgeon’s office you have been referred to.

The contact information for the Edmonton Zone Central Referral Program is:

Edmonton Zone Central Referral Program (Ortho)
Phone: (780) 613-5387

Please note: The surgeon’s office will contact you directly with your appointment date and time. The Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre and the Edmonton Zone Central Referral Program do not make these appointments.

Why does it take so long to see a surgeon after I have been assessed?
There are many patients who have shoulder injuries, and we do our best to have people seen as quickly as possible.

What can I do while I am waiting to see the surgeon?
Carry out the instructions that the assessment physician and physical therapist have given you. Stay healthy! See your family doctor for health issues (for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea). Practice healthy eating habits, stay active, and if you smoke, quit! You can find more information on how to empower yourself while you’re waiting for surgery here.

Need more information about managing your shoulder pain?

Explore our website for more resources!