Shoulder Injuries and Disorders

Summary

Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Because your shoulder can be unstable, it can be easily injured. Common problems include:

Sprains and strains

Dislocations

• Separations

Tendinitis

Bursitis

Torn rotator cuffs

• Frozen shoulder

Fractures (broken bones)

Arthritis

Health care providers diagnose shoulder problems by using your medical history, a physical exam, and imaging tests.

Often, the first treatment for shoulder problems is RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise and medicines to reduce pain and swelling. If those don’t work, you may need surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Start Here

Shoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Shoulder Problems: Symptom Checker Flowchart(American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish

Diagnosis and Tests

Direct Arthrography  (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Shoulder(American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish

MRI of the Musculoskeletal System (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish

Treatments and Therapies

Cortisone Shots (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish

Joint and Soft Tissue Injections (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Shoulder Arthroscopy (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Shoulder Joint Replacement (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Living With

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Related Issues

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) (Muscular Dystrophy Association)

Specifics

Arthritis of the Shoulder (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Chronic Shoulder Instability (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Frozen Shoulder (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Separated Shoulder (Cleveland Clinic Foundation)

Shoulder Fracture (American Society for Surgery of the Hand)

Shoulder Instability (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish

Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

SLAP Tears (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

Tendinitis and Bursitis (American College of Rheumatology) Also in Spanish

Clinical Trials

ClinicalTrials.gov: Shoulder Dislocation  (National Institutes of Health)

ClinicalTrials.gov: Shoulder Fractures  (National Institutes of Health)

ClinicalTrials.gov: Shoulder Injuries  (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles

References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Article: Outcomes of proximal humerus fractures in children: a study protocol for…

Article: Analysis of Efficacy, Complications, and Inflammatory Reactions of Bridge Combined Internal…

Article: A new classification for combined greater tuberosity fracture and anterior shoulder…

Shoulder Injuries and Disorders — see more articles

Find an Expert

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases  Also in Spanish

Patient Handouts

Brachial plexopathy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Broken collarbone – aftercare (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Frozen shoulder (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Frozen shoulder – aftercare (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Shoulder arthroscopy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Shoulder CT scan (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Shoulder MRI scan (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Shoulder pain (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Using your shoulder after surgery (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

Original Article – https://medlineplus.gov/shoulderinjuriesanddisorders.html

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