Although we often describe joints as the place where two bones come together, they are actually much more complex structures, and the shoulder joint is especially complex. It’s one of the largest joints in your body and also provides the greatest range of motion.
At Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates, our team of expert providers have extensive training and a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the shoulder. Whether your shoulder pain is the result of tendonitis or degeneration because of arthritis, we can guide you to an appropriate course of treatment. In this post we discuss the various parts that make up your amazing shoulder joint.
Your shoulder joint is made up of three different bones coming together. The two most people think of are the shoulder blade, which is your scapula, and the bone in your upper arm, which is the humerus. These two make up the ball-and-socket part of the joint.
Your collar bone, the clavicle, is also part of your shoulder joint. It meets a small, bony projection from your scapula called the acromion.
The soft tissues
Although the shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, it might be better described as a ball in a shallow dish. You can move your arm behind your back, across your chest, and in circles because your humerus isn’t tightly fit into your scapula.
The joint is held together by soft tissues like tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. Small fluid filled sacs called bursae help keep all those parts moving against each other smoothly.
Your rotator cuff is a group of tissues that surrounds your shoulder joint. Your labrum is another tissue cuff that surrounds your humerus where it sits against your scapula.
As you might imagine, with so many parts and the ability to move your shoulder in so many ways, plenty can go wrong!
Shoulder problems can develop suddenly, as when you throw a ball during your weekend pickup game and dislocate your shoulder, or slowly over time as with osteoarthritis. Other common shoulder problems include:
- Frozen shoulder - the soft tissues of your shoulder become inflamed and painful
- Bursitis - the bursae become inflamed and it’s painful to move
- Tendonitis - the tendons in your shoulder develop tears and cause pain
- Rotator cuff tear - a tear in the tissues that surround your joint
- Impingement - the acromion, or hook-shaped part of the scapula, presses into your rotator cuff
- Arthritis - osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are all types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder
The first step in understanding the cause of your shoulder pain and finding relief is getting a diagnosis from a highly trained professional. If your shoulder hurts, even if it isn’t all the time, schedule an appointment at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates.