What Are the Parts of the Shoulder?
The shoulder joint is made up of bones held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons are tough cords of tissue that hold the shoulder muscles to bones. They help the muscles move the shoulder. Ligaments hold the three shoulder bones to each other and help make the shoulder joint stable.
Who Gets Shoulder Problems?
Men, women, and children can have shoulder problems. They occur in people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
Many shoulder problems are caused by the breakdown of soft tissues in the shoulder region. Using the shoulder too much can cause the soft tissue to break down faster as people get older. Doing manual labor and playing sports may cause shoulder problems.
Shoulder pain may be felt in one small spot, in a larger area, or down the arm. Pain that travels along nerves to the shoulder can be caused by diseases such as:
Doctors diagnose shoulder problems by using:
Shoulder problems are most often first treated with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation):
If pain and stiffness persist, see a doctor to diagnose and treat the problem.
The most common shoulder problems are:
The symptoms and treatment of shoulder problems vary, depending on the type of problem.
Dislocation occurs when the ball at the top of the bone in the upper arm pops out of the socket. It can happen if the shoulder is twisted or pulled very hard.
To treat a dislocation, a doctor performs a procedure to push the ball of the upper arm back into the socket. Further treatment may include:
Once a shoulder is dislocated, it may happen again. This is common in young, active people. If the dislocation injures tissues or nerves around the shoulder, surgery may be needed.
A shoulder separation occurs when the ligaments between the collarbone and the shoulder blade are torn. The injury is most often caused by a blow to the shoulder or by falling on an outstretched hand.
Treatment for a shoulder separation includes:
Rotator Cuff Disease: Tendinitis and Bursitis
In tendinitis of the shoulder, tendons become inflamed (red, sore, and swollen) from being pinched by parts around the shoulder.
Bursitis occurs when the bursa—a small fluid-filled sac that helps protect the shoulder joint—is inflamed. Bursitis is sometimes caused by disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is also caused by playing sports that overuse the shoulder or by jobs with frequent overhead reaching.
Tendinitis and bursitis may occur alone or at the same time. Treatment for tendinitis and bursitis includes:
Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear. Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful.
Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, how severe the injury is, and how long the person has had the torn rotator cuff. Treatment for torn rotator cuff includes:
Movement of the shoulder is very restricted in people with a frozen shoulder. Causes of frozen shoulder are:
Treatment for frozen shoulder includes:
A fracture is a crack through part or all of a bone. In the shoulder, a fracture usually involves the collarbone or upper arm bone. Fractures are often caused by a fall or blow to the shoulder.
Treatment for a fracture may include:
Arthritis of the Shoulder
Arthritis can be one of two types:
Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. People with rheumatoid arthritis may need physical therapy and medicine such as corticosteroids.
If these treatments for arthritis of the shoulder don’t relieve pain or improve function, surgery may be needed.
src: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)