Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Shoulder Pain after Injury Anatomy

To better understand shoulder injury, it helps to understand the anatomy of the shoulder joint.

The shoulder joint allows motion between two major bones: the humerus and the scapula. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. A depression in the scapula, known as the glenoid, provides the socket for the head of the humerus. Ligaments and muscles hold the joint together as the bones move.

The clavicle, or collar bone, connects to the scapula at the acromion, which is a bony projection off the scapula. The acromioclavicular ligaments normally surround and secure this joint.

Anatomy examples:

  • The shoulder joint viewed from the front
  • The shoulder joint viewed from the back
  • The shoulder joint viewed from the top, showing rotator cuff
  • Muscles of the shoulder from the front
  • Muscles of the shoulder from the back
  • The acromioclavicular joint

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Shoulder Pain after Injury References
  1. Altchek DW, Levinson M.Shoulder injury in the throwing athlete. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2000 Nov;11(4):745-54. [11092016]
  2. Moynes DR. Prevention of injury to the shoulder through exercises and therapy. Clin Sports Med. 1983 Jul;2(2):413-22. [969764]
  3. Safran MR. Nerve injury about the shoulder in athletes, part 1: suprascapular nerve and axillary nerve. Am J Sports Med. 2004 Apr-May;32(3):803-19. [15090401]
  4. Wollman S. Patient education series. Sprains and strains. Nursing. 2003 Sep;33(9):47. [14501515]
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