Normal Anatomy of the Shoulder Joint
The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body making it the most susceptible to instability and injury. It is a ‘ball-and-socket’ joint. A ‘ball’ at the top of the upper arm bone, humerus, fits neatly into a ‘socket’, called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade, scapula.
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Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Damage of the cartilage in the shoulder joint causes shoulder arthritis.
The cartilage is a padding that absorbs stress. The proportion of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Usually the pain early on is due to inflammation. In the later stages, when the cartilage is worn away, most of the pain comes from the mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing on each other.
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Pain in the shoulder suggests a shoulder injury and shoulder injuries are more common in athletes participating in sports such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. The injuries are caused due to the over usage or repetitive motion of the arms.
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Rotator cuff is the group of tendons in the shoulder joint providing support and enabling wider range of motion. Major injury to these tendons may result in tear of these tendons and the condition is called as rotator cuff tear. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals. It may occur with repeated use of arm for overhead activities, while playing sports or during motor accidents. Rotator cuff tear causes severe pain, weakness of the arm, and crackling sensation on moving shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movements, and tenderness in the front of the shoulder.
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The shoulder is a highly movable body joint that allows various movements of the arm. It is a ball and socket joint, where the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) articulates with the socket of the scapula (shoulder blade) called the glenoid. The two articulating surfaces of the bones are covered with cartilage, which prevents friction between the moving bones. The cartilage is lubricated by synovial fluid. Tendons and ligaments around the shoulder joint provide strength and stability to the joint.
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Click on the topics below to find out more from the Orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- The Shoulder
- Arthritis of the Shoulder
- Broken Collarbone
- Dislocated Shoulder
- Fracture of the shoulder blade (scapula)
- Frozen Shoulder
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Separated Shoulder
- Shoulder Impingement (Bursitis, Tendinitis)
- Shoulder Joint Replacement
- Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear)
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Shoulder Arthroscopy